Too often we see doctors working over time without any extra pay, and rotas without adequate rest days. So we have detailed what protects you, what your rights are currently, and what you can do for help and advice.
What protects you, as a doctor?
The European Working Time Directive (EWTD) and The New Deal Contract
Now most people have heard of the European Working directive, however what you may not know is the specifics and that although the EWTD and the New Deal do have some different limits and definitions, a doctor will receive protection under which agreement is more beneficial in that circumstance.
The good news is that all the rotas in the hospital will have to agree to the EWTD.
So what does that mean?
1. Working hours should not exceed 48 hours per week, calculated as an average over a period of 26 weeks. (This was 56 hours previously).
2. A period of 11 hours continuous rest before your next shift.
3. A day off each week, or two days off in every fortnight.
4. A minimum of 20 minute rest break every 6 hours (or compensatory rest), however with the New Deal you are entitled 30 minutes rest every 4 hours.
Opting out of EWTD is a choice given to all doctors however do not be pressured or bullied into doing so, and under no circumstances should a job application rest on the agreement to opt out of the directive. Opting out does not exempt you from either the rest requirements of the EWTD or any of the limits of the New Deal (which you cannot opt out of)!
Fortunately monitoring your hours is included in your contract. Your employers have to ensure you are working safely and effectively without excessive workloads that might compromise patient care.
Monitoring is done to check that you are complying with the New Deal and EWTD contract limits on contracted hours, hours worked, duty periods and rest requirements.
If you are being monitored we do advise photocopying your timesheets as surprisingly we have heard of trusts 'losing' timesheets during monitoring week.
If an employer fails to comply with the provisions they may be liable to pay up to a £5,000 fine. Where issues are identified, the two main routes for taking action against your employer is either Health and Safety Executive (report through your regional HSE office) or the Employment tribunal. We do advise that if you are a BMA member you should seek advice first from one of the BMA advisers on 0300 123 1233 who will be able to help you decide on the best approach. For more details through the BMA