Non-EU UK graduate traineeships lost for national minimum wage
There has been an effort to deter British non-EU students from taking jobs in the public sector at the cost of losing those opportunities to employers elsewhere in the UK.
Firms from England, Wales and Northern Ireland can take a non-EU UK graduate trainee for a period of one year at a standard rate of £3,290 a year – or £4,100 a year for EU graduates and students of the European Restructuring Initiative.
Yet if they were to take a job in Northern Ireland, for example, where the minimum wage is £5.50 an hour, it would cost them around £2,100 a year – enough to make the career option cost neutral, according to the Department for Education.
There is, however, a difference in workplace protections for public sector employees in Northern Ireland and England, Wales and Scotland.
Hilda Anstruther-Glynn, the chief executive of the National Association of Graduate Recruiters, said: “The discretionary nature of this contribution can be an anomaly. Employers should only draw on this condition as a last resort to ensure that they are recruiting locally for workers from a range of backgrounds.”
Benefits for GPs need to be justified
The government has asked the health minister, James Reilly, to consider whether the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, should consider making all doctors who had retired only by “effective vacancy allowance” at the end of their post-retirement career step back into positions that would otherwise require them to continue drawing down their pensions and willy-nilly get a pay rise.
The “effective vacancy allowance” (IEDA) is a method through which public sector pension schemes can honour the retiring terms of doctors. It enables doctors to stay in the NHS workforce without employing extra staff.
The £6,000-a-year pension boost for GPs took effect on Monday and will be worked out for each individual GP based on their retirement date.
At the moment doctors are given a lump sum on retirement – typically valued at £6,000 a year – and the government pays them up to 6% above that, which leaves them with just £4,600 a year to fund their own retirement.
Hunt has looked at over the past year whether the system should go a step further and ensure GPs who left by “effective vacancy allowance” accrued another £6,000 annually to replace their retirement package.
But most doctors do not retire while still in their working lives, and most receive statutory pension plans. Pending the consultation with Hunt, this money will no longer go into their pensions.