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IMO seeking to protect allowances for GP trainees on maternity leave

By Catherine Reilly - 25th Sep 2023

The IMO is proceeding to the Labour Court in a bid to protect allowances which are being withheld by the HSE from some GP trainees on maternity leave.

Under the NCHD contract, there are two allowances due to GP registrars for out-of-hours work and travel expenses.  The IMO’s position is that these are fixed allowances, and under general HSE terms and conditions, fixed allowances are payable to employees while on maternity leave. GP trainees are employees of the HSE during their training.

The main allowance is for out-of-hours work and is worth approximately €11,500 per annum.

An IMO spokesperson said this issue is affecting GP trainees on maternity leave in some, but not all, training schemes. The union is representing up to 30 members who have been impacted and will be seeking the payments to these doctors.

The Organisation claimed that GP trainees in some schemes have been asked by the HSE to sign a waiver in regard to receiving the allowances on maternity leave. There have also been instances of the HSE seeking repayment of allowances, according to the union.

The IMO stated it has made several attempts to resolve the matter through discussions and conciliation. The dispute is now due to be heard at the Labour Court on 17 October.

The Organisation says the HSE’s current position is also sending out the wrong message to doctors who are considering training in general practice, which is facing major workforce requirements.

The allowances are also considered important in terms of equity as GP trainees are not entitled to progress to senior/specialist registrar salaries.

A spokesperson for the HSE said: “The matter is due to be heard before the Labour Court on 17 October and in light of same it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

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