THE HSE HAS announced a decision to stop paying locum doctors for their lunch breaks.
Agency staff said that they were informed they would no longer receive payment for breaks, and instead only being paid for hours worked, from 17 October.
In a letter to locums, seen by the Medical Independent, agency staff were informed that they were entitled to a number of breaks:
- 15 minute break for 0-4 hours worked
- 30-minute break for 5-8 hours worked
- One-hour break for every 9-13 hours shift
However, locums were told that they would not receive payment for availing of their breaks.
In statement, the HSE said that it had introduced contracts for the provision of agency services in March 2011 in the following categories: Nursing; Medical; Allied Health Professionals; Social Care Workers; and Healthcare Assistants.
It continued: “The terms of all these contracts were agreed with the successful agencies prior to the implementation date. It is clearly stated in all these contracts that ‘agency workers will only be paid for hours worked’, therefore all contracted agencies do not pay agency staff (in any category) for lunch breaks”.