Advice for Members on NPS Annual Leave Buy Back Scheme



UNISON understands that some members may be deciding whether to sell annual leave back to the NPS under the Annual Leave Buy-Back Scheme. The decision whether to sell leave is a personal one depending on each individual’s circumstances.

But before deciding whether to sell leave back to the NPS, members are advised as follows:

  1. The NPS annual leave buy-back scheme has not been agreed with the NPS trade unions
  • UNISON made extensive comments on the proposed buy-back scheme last week, but our concerns were not taken on board.
  • The following things are wrong with the buy-back scheme:
  1. Depending on the annual leave entitlement of individual staff and the amount of leave already taken in the leave year, NPS is at risk of unlawfully inducing staff to sell some of their 20 days statutory leave under the Working Time Regulations. 20 days of all employees’ annual leave entitlement in the UK is protected under these regulations and this statutory leave cannot be sold.
  • For example, staff with say 26 days annual leave entitlement are only able to sell up to 6 days annual leave in the leave year, because selling any more would eat into their 20 days statutory leave which cannot be sold.
  • The NPS has confirmed that the rate of pay for the buy-back of leave will not take into account the outcome of the 2020 pay award, so although NPS claims that it will buy-back leave at the rate of x1.2 daily pay, once the pay award is agreed for 2020 any leave sold after 1 April 2020 will be paid at less than x1.2/daily pay, because it will be paid at 2019 pay rates, not 2020 pay rates.

UNISON hopes that these issues can be resolved so that the NPS remains within the law and that staff get the proper rate of pay for each day sold. If you have any questions please speak to your local UNISON representative in the first instance.