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Thursday 30 November 2017

Unions take action on payroll errors

By MiP

NHS England's Helen Bullers has apologised for payroll errors affecting hundreds of NHS staff.

MiP and other health service unions have formally complained to NHS England about mistakes by Shared Business Services (SBS), the public-private partnership which provides payroll and pensions services to 40% of NHS employers.

The move follows a string of complaints from members about errors by SBS which, in some cases, have left NHS staff with unexpected bills running into thousands of pounds. Over 300 staff are believed to be affected by mistakes in calculating tax and pension deductions, and errors in pension banding.

In its initial response to the unions' complaint, NHS England agreed to extend the repayment period for staff who have been overpaid from 11 to 24 months, with a maximum repayment of £146 a month. Staff facing "financial hardship" would be able to request longer repayment periods, NHS England said.

SBS denied responsibility for the mistakes in pension banding, blaming "ambiguity" in the guidance from NHS Pensions. But the company did not explain why it had taken several months to obtain clarity from NHS Pensions since the issue first surfaced in December 2016.

"It's disgraceful that SBS has refused to accept liability for their own mistakes. It was only after unions repeatedly requested further data checks that the full number of affected staff was revealed," said MiP national officer Jo Spear.

"We are pleased to hear that the organisation is taking a much more reasonable and flexible approach to repayments, but we still believe individuals should not be asked to cite financial hardship as a reason to repay over a longer period of time," she added.

In a letter to NHS unions, Helen Bullers, NHS England director of people and organisational development, said: "Having staff affected by pension banding errors is a deeply regrettable situation, for which we are sorry. We are committed to resolving this for each person affected in the most sensitive, supportive and pragmatic way possible."

If you think your pay or pension contributions have been miscalculated, contact your MiP rep or national officer for advice.

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