NHS shortchange cycling staff
A recent survey of the amount NHS Trusts pay to staff who cycle for work reflects very poorly on the trusts, says NHS employee cyclists group Spokes – the body that commissioned the survey.
Spokes contacted all 409 NHS Trusts and Authorities in England to ask for details of the amounts paid as mileage allowances to employees who cycle in the course of their job, but received replies from only 230 of them. Despite the fact the minimum rate is set down nationally in the contract between NHS and its employees not all trusts that responded were sticking to this rate, as the following findings from the survey show:
- 56% of Trusts pay only the 6.2p minimum cycle mileage rate.
- 8 % pay less than 6.2p
- 14% pay nothing at all
- 22% pay above the minimum rate
- 6 % pay more than the 20p per mile tax-free rate allowed for by
- A few Trusts pay 50p per mile
Spokes founder Mike Simpson speaking exclusively to Bikeradar commented on what he believed was the at the root of the poor deal for NHS cyclists; ‘Many Trusts didn’t even know the allowance was there – it is a legal requirement under the employees’ standard contract but it is tucked away in an appendix at the back of it. It’s not just the Trusts who overlook it as I find many employees who cycle in the course of their work don’t know they can claim at least the 6.2p per mile allowance.’
Asked what he’d like to see as the ideal situation Simpson added ‘I think all trusts should not just pay lip service to encouraging cycling but should appeal to employees pockets too. Raising the minimum bicycle allowance to the tax-free 20p threshold (small cars by the way merit 29.7p per mile) would do just that and would mean the Trusts would actually gain financially from a shift away from cars to bikes. Indeed they would also gain in productivity from a healthier workforce. It’s a win, win, win situation.’
It appears that the issue is now at least on the agenda for negotiations. Max Liversuch, Review of Mileage – Project Manager, for NHS Employers informed Bikeradar that ‘a review of mileage conditions is ongoing and the subject of regular discussions between NHS employers and trade union representatives’.
Unfortunately he couldn’t give any indication of the likely outcome of the review or of when it would conclude.
The NHS is the largest employer in Britain.