“We, the Trustees of the Renal Association and the Chair of the Equal Opportunities in Nephrology Committee, have assessed the content of the updated junior doctor’s contract and have read the Department of Health’s related equality analysis. We feel that, whilst this analysis acknowledges that people who take career breaks or work part time (80% of whom are women) may be disadvantaged by the contract, any contract that systematically disadvantages a group of employees as a result of gender or any other protected characteristic cannot be justified. The proposed changes in pay structure will result in lower equivalent pay for people who work part time or take career breaks and those who undertake ‘out of programme’ research activity as part of academic training. There is a particular lack of clarity regarding improved training. While there are some mitigating points in the updated contract, Less Than Full Time trainees will still be at a disadvantage in a number of areas at various stages of training: cost of childcare during anti-social hours, intensity payments, and pay progression. This will inevitably increase the gender pay gap: an inequality that many organizations and institutions have been working hard to reduce for years.
Within renal medicine, women account for 55% of our trainees but only 20% of our consultant body. We are perceived to be a hard-working specialty with long hours and we are concerned that the new contract will make the consultant gender gap worse. The impact of the contract is likely to be even more pronounced within paediatric nephrology, which historically has a higher proportion of posts filled by women.
The Renal Association opposes the imposition of the new contract and urges both parties to return to the negotiating table and work to produce a solution that is fair for all concerned.”