The Conditions of Service are as negotiated by the National Joint Council for Local Government Services. Whilst the duties and times of work may vary in the case of particular posts the following conditions are generally applicable unless otherwise indicated.
These are based on public transport fares at standard/economy rates where applicable, plus any necessary subsistence. Reimbursement is made in approved cases for overnight stays. Candidates selected for appointment will only be reimbursed once they have taken up their appointment. Expenses will not be paid to candidates who withdraw. Public transport refers to rail or bus travel. Air fares will only be authorised in exceptional cases and then only by prior agreement.
Assistance with Relocation
A relocation package is available in appropriate cases. Details of the scheme are attached.
New employees are required to satisfactorily complete a probationary period of six months which gives both the Authority and employee a chance to assess suitability to the requirements of the job. A supervisor/line manager will monitor performance throughout this period and provide guidance/training support as necessary. Upon satisfactory completion of the probationary period formal confirmation of becoming a permanent member of staff will be issued.
This is generally a 36 hour week with many posts operating to flexitime. This system offers the opportunity to choose starting and finishing times which best suit personal needs. "Core time" operates from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. with outer limits of 7.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. Lunch break must be at least 30 minutes taken between the hours of 12 noon and 2.00 p.m. During the flexible bands employees may start and finish work as they wish, provided that there is adequate cover at the place of work. Hours may be accumulated to give 1.5 days off within each settlement period of five weeks (pro rata for part-time staff). For posts not subject to flexitime normal office hours are 9.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. (Monday to Thursday) and 4.00 p.m. on Friday, with a lunch break of 1 hour. These hours may, however, vary for certain posts, e.g. in Libraries, Residential Homes, etc.
Annual Leave and Public Holidays
The annual leave entitlement is 27 days for a full calendar year increased to 32 days after five years' continuous service. This entitlement is inclusive of 2 extra statutory days. In addition, all employees will get eight Bank and Public Holidays each year taken as they occur. The leave year operates from 1st April to 31st March. New entrants are entitled to holidays proportionate to their completed calendar months of service.
Unpaid leave of 4 days will operate during each Christmas period. Deductions are made from monthly pay at the hourly rate and spread over a 12 month period.
Full pay sickness allowance is payable according to length of service. For new entrants to Local Government in the first year of service the allowance is one month's full pay (plus two month's half pay) after four months' service. Entitlement increases until, after five years' service, it extends to six months' full pay and six months' half pay.
New entrants receive information on the Merseyside Pension Fund website which explains all the essential features of the Local Government Pension Scheme.
Sefton offers membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme for its employees (LGPS). In return for contributions valuable benefits are received.
Highlights of the benefits provided by the LGPS are:
- a Career Average Revalued Earnings scheme - CARE (from April 2014) with a guaranteed pension
- the ability to increase your pension benefits with a variety of options
- voluntary retirement from age 55 subject to actuarial reduction
- pension benefits become payable at age 55 or over if a member’s employment ceases as a result of redundancy or efficiency of the service*
- an ill health pension payable from any age, provided you meet the LGPS criteria immediate payment of benefits based on a 3 tier system with enhancement of service for tier 1 and 2*
- a death in service lump sum of three times your assumed pensionable pay
- survivor benefits, an ongoing pension is provided for
- your spouse (from an opposite sex or same sex marriage)
- your registered civil partner
- your eligible cohabiting partner
- your eligible children
- the index-linking of benefits to ensure that they keep pace with inflation- currently measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
* You must be an active member of the LGPS for 2 years before becoming entitled to benefits under the scheme
Please refer to the Merseyside Pension Fund website for more detailed guidance.
Frequency of Payment
Salaried staff are paid monthly, two weeks in advance and two weeks in arrears on the 15th of each month. Payment is by credit transfer direct to a Bank or Building Society account.
Applicants new to Sefton are subject to medical clearance before appointment. This involves completion of a medical questionnaire followed, in some cases, if deemed necessary, referral to the Occupational Health Service.
Sefton's policy statement on Equal Opportunities is as follows: "In pursuance of this policy it is striving to ensure that no job applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of race, sex, disability, age, gender identity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, or is disadvantaged by conditions or requirements which cannot be shown to be justifiable. To achieve this the Council will take active and positive steps to eliminate discrimination, reduce the effects of past discrimination and promote equality in employment. Selection criteria and procedures will be reviewed to ensure that individuals are selected, promoted and treated on the basis of their relevant merit and abilities. All employees will be given full opportunity, and, where appropriate, special training to progress within the organisation. The Council is willing to examine any aspect of policy or service where reasonable evidence is presented that discrimination might exist".
All employees regardless of hours of work or length of service have the right to 52 weeks maternity leave and the right to return to work. Employees with at least 26 weeks service (at the 15th week before their expected week of childbirth (EWC) will qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay. Employees with at least 12 months service (calculated up to the 11th week before EWC) qualify for 18 weeks Occupational Maternity Pay, if returning to local authority work for at least 3 months.
Ordinary Paternity Leave
Ordinary Paternity Leave is available to all employees and is granted to enable new fathers/partners/nominated carers to provide practical and emotional support to the mother around the time of the birth of her baby. All employees are entitled to 2 weeks Ordinary Paternity Leave. The first week is paid at normal pay based on normal contractual hours. The second week is paid at £136.78 per week at April, 2013 and (this may be subject to annual changes) or 90% of average weekly earnings (whichever is the lesser).
Additional Paternity Leave
Additional Paternity Leave allows eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks leave to care for their new child, possibly with additional statutory paternity pay (ASPP). This leave and pay is only available to qualifying employees if the mother or co-adopter has returned to work.
The right to APL will be on top of the existing two-week ordinary paternity leave and pay entitlement on the birth or adoption of a child. The new scheme is aimed at giving mothers, fathers and partners more choice in childcare responsibilities and a more equitable sharing of leave entitlements.
This may be granted in certain circumstances with or without pay, i.e. exceptional domestic reasons, bereavement of close relatives and is at the discretion of the Service Director. Special leave with pay is granted in a number of circumstances, i.e. non-regular forces, magisterial duties, study and examination.
Unpaid leave can be granted for urgent family reasons, for example, accident or sickness which require you to have to leave work immediately.
Employees have a basic right to 18 weeks (unpaid) parental leave if they have one year's continuous service and they meet specific government requirements.
Adoption leave is available to all employees who have completed one year or more continuous service at the beginning of the 15th week before the date of adoption or by the week in which an adoption is made.
Trade Union Membership
Sefton Council supports the system of collective bargaining and believes in solving industrial relations problems by discussing and agreement between representatives of the employer and of the employees. All employees have the rights to join a Trade Union and take part in its activities.
If an employee leaves the Council's employment, the period of notice you are required to give and entitled to receive, varies according to grade and will be outlined in your Statement of Particulars in accordance with the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act, 1978. Generally speaking the following applies:-
- Officers on JNC/Chief Officer related scales three months
- Principal and Senior Officer grades two months
- Scale 6 and below one month
Job Sharing Scheme
We operate a Job Sharing Scheme which, apart from some proven exceptions, is available to all employees. Job sharing means that two people can voluntarily share the duties and responsibilities of one full-time job. Pay and leave are pro rata.
Right to Request Flexible Working Arrangements
Sefton Council recognises the needs of its employees to balance their work and personal responsibilities; it also recognises its obligations under the Government's Flexible Working Regulations. The Scheme is available to all employees who have caring responsibilities for children or other family members and who have worked continuously in Sefton for 26 weeks (at the date of application).
The Authority also operates other flexible working arrangements.Further details can be obtained from the Corporate Personnel Department.
Childcare vouchers are available to all staff employed by the Council. We recognise how important it is to achieve a balanced working life, particularly if you have demands on you as a parent. We are also aware of the very high cost of childcare. To help with these costs you are able to convert a portion of your salary into childcare vouchers allowing you to make significant savings on your existing childcare costs