I worked as a nurse in the NHS for two years and around three months ago I began to work on the nurse bank (within the same trust). It means I work when I want each week and am not on a permanent contract. Am I still entitled to maternity pay? Also, if I were to go back to my permanent contract within the hospital do I have to follow their policies on maternity leave from when I started back on a permanent contract or will it be continuous as I have never left the NHS?
I note that you worked as a nurse for the NHS for two years but that approximately three months ago you became a bank nurse, working when you want, rather than on a permanent contract.
Whether or not you are entitled to maternity pay depends on your employment status. This is a matter which is personal to you and we would need to analyse your current relationship with your employer in order to advise you fully on your employment status. Generally speaking, bank staff are workers and not employees. Only employees are entitled to statutory maternity pay and therefore, if you are not an employee and are only worker, on your current contract, you would not be entitled to statutory maternity pay. You may, however, be entitled to maternity allowance and I would recommend that you look into this further.
You also question whether or not if you go back on to a permanent contract, will you have continuous employment from the start of your work with the NHS, given that you previously worked for the NHS on a permanent contract. If your work as a bank nurse is on the basis that you are an employee, your continuity of employment may well have been preserved unless there are any events / gaps breaking continuity of service. However, if your work on the bank is not as an employee, it is likely that your continuity of employment with the NHS has been broken and if you recommenced a permanent contract with the NHS, your continuity of employment would start again afresh. I would, however, recommend that you check your terms and conditions in detail because there may well be specific rules applicable to the NHS in this regard.
Should you require any further guidance on any of the issues listed above then please contact Tracey Guest of Slater Heelis LLP on 0161 672 1246.
*Helen Frankland assisted in answering this question.