This guidance is designed to answer some questions Stable Staff frequently ask NASS. If you would like any further information or clarification then please contact the NASS office.
NASS and the National Trainers Federation (NTF) negotiate the minimum pay and conditions for Stable Staff employed by licensed trainers. The minimum terms agreed are set out in the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). This means the MoA applies to all Stable Staff employed by a licensed trainer but not Stable Staff working in unlicensed yards. For the current MoA click here. Other matters relating to the employment of Stable Staff are governed by contracts and the law.
Your trainer has a responsibility to register you on the BHA Register of Stable Staff within 24 hours of you starting your employment. Please ensure you complete this form (called an SER1). If you do not complete this form you might not be covered by the Racing Industry and Accidents Benefits Scheme (RIABS) - for more information about RIABS see below.
Your employer should give you a written contract within 2 months of you starting work. Contracts for Stable Staff usually cover: start date, rate of pay, personal protective clothing (body protectors, skull caps etc), accommodation, notice periods, health & safety etc.
If you agree to the terms, both you and your employer should sign your contract and you should keep a copy. If your employer changes your working conditions and you work those new conditions it may be argued that your contract has been changed. If you have any concerns about this then please contact NASS.
Normally if you or your employer wants to end your employment you must give each other notice. The amount of notice to be given should be set out within your contract if you have one. Your contract cannot allow your employer to give you less than the minimum amount of notice required by law, but it can provide for a longer notice period than is required by law.
If you do not have a contract then the minimum notice required by law will apply. Your employer must give you a minimum of:
- 1 weeks notice if you have been employed for 4 weeks or more
- 2 weeks notice if you have been employed for 2 years
- After 2 years of employment your employer must give an additional 1 weeks’ notice for every year that you work, up to a maximum of 12 weeks’ notice
If you have a contract and want to give notice you must look in your contract to see what notice period you must give. Sometimes your employer will agree to a shorter notice period than is required by the contract but this is something you need to discuss with them.
If you do not have a contract and want to end your employment, then you must give your employer a minimum of 1 weeks’ notice if you have been employed for 4 weeks.
The rules on holidays are set out in section 16 of the Memorandum of Agreement (Click here to access the MoA).
Your holiday entitlement increases based on how many years you have been working for your employer. Your yard may have rules on how many people can be off at any one time – these rules should be given to you when you start your employment/displayed somewhere e.g. on the yard notice board. Holidays should be taken at a time mutually agreed with your employer.
The holiday year in your yard usually runs from:
- 1 January to 31 December or
- 1 July to 30 June
Generally flat racing yards run their holiday year runs from 1 January to 31 December and national hunt yards run from 1 July to 30 June. When you start your job, you must check when your holiday year runs from. It is your responsibility to ensure you take your holidays within the holiday period. The MoA says if you do not take your holidays within your holiday period you will lose them. It is always a good idea to keep a record of the holidays you have taken.
There are limited exceptions to this rule. If you are off because off sick or injured or on maternity leave and are unable to take your holiday entitlement before the end of the holiday year then your holiday entitlement can carry over to the next holiday year.
If you have not taken your entitlement then some yards may allow you to carry over holiday entitlement from one year to the other. This would be set out in your contract, or on rules displayed in the yard. In the event you are not able to take your holiday entitlement you must enter into a written agreement with your employer to carry your entitlement over to the next holiday year. NASS strongly advises you to take your full holiday entitlement by the end of the holiday year. Also, the law restricts carrying over holidays so if this is something you are considering please contact NASS to assist you.
Recent developments in the law mean that to work out what holiday pay you should receive; your employer must calculate your normal weekly pay. To calculate this they must look at the 12 weeks prior to when your holiday starts and work out what regular overtime you have been required to do. Any regular overtime you were required to work in this 12 week period is added together and divided by 12 to get the average weekly overtime. This average weekly overtime is added to your basic weekly wage to get your weekly rate of holiday pay. This only applies to the first 20 days holiday you take in a year. This area of case law is still developing and is quite complicated. Please contact NASS with any queries.
Full details of what you are entitled to are set out in the Memorandum of Agreement.
Working away from the yard (e.g. to take a horse racing) usually means you will have to spend additional money on food and drink. If you work away from the yard for more than your normal working hours you will be paid a subsistence allowance. The allowance is sometimes called lunch money and is a set amount paid to you by your employer in order to cover some of these costs.
So if you have worked away from the yard but have not worked more than your usual hours then you will not be paid the allowance. Time working away from the yard also includes travelling time e.g. time travelling to the races and back.
The amount paid to you depends on:
- The day of the week you are working away from the yard, and
- The number of hours you are working away from the yard more than your usual working hours
Some of the allowance is paid to you tax free, and some of it gets paid to you in your wages and gets taxed. The tax free part can be paid to you by your employer in cash before you work away from the yard or can be put in your wages but should not be taxed.
Daily Allowances for racing Monday to Saturday
If on any day from Monday to Saturday, you work away from the yard for:
- Up to 6 hours more than your normal hours - you will be paid £10. Of this £10, you will receive £7 as tax free cash, and £3 taxed in your wage.
- 6-8 hours more than your normal hours - you will again be paid £10. You will get a slightly bigger portion of this £10 as tax free cash, as you will be paid £9 as tax free in cash and £1 taxed in your wage.
- 8 hours or more than your normal hours - you will be paid £13.50. All of this £13.50 allowance will be paid to you as tax free cash.
Daily Allowance for racing on a Sunday
Because racing on a Sunday can be inconvenient, you will be paid a higher daily allowance of £30. Of this allowance £12 can be paid to you as tax free cash and £18 paid to you in your wage and taxed.
A lieu day is when you are given a day to have off from work - which is not taken from your holiday entitlement. Lieu days are to be taken off on a day agreed with your trainer. If you don’t take them by the end of the holiday year you will lose them. It’s a good idea to keep a record of what lieu days you think you are entitled to, and make a note of it on the expense sheet you or your travelling head lad gives to the Racing Secretary. Many people get confused with racing on a Sunday and think it means that you are entitled to a lieu day. This is not correct. If you go racing on a Sunday or you are travelling to the races on a Sunday you will only get a lieu day if it is your weekend off. If you are racing at a designated Saturday Evening Fixture then you will be entitled to an afternoon off.
When you take a horse racing abroad you will get paid your normal basic wage plus overtime for any additional hours worked. You will receive a Racing Abroad Payment of £30 per day, of this £21 can be paid to you as tax free cash and £9 is taxed in your wages. If you would like some of your tax free cash in the local currency of the country you are visiting it is worth speaking to your Racing Secretary/Accounts department in advance of your trip. You must ensure you are paid this amount. This daily allowance has been negotiated with the NTF as often racing abroad means you do have to spend more money than you would be at home.
The Stable Percentage Money is usually called Pool Money. It is a percentage of prize money your yard has earned. For a full explanation on Pool Money please click here to view the guidance notes issued jointly by NASS and the NTF.
Some of the main points are:
The Pool Money Rules
It is up to Stable Staff and not the employer/trainer to decide how Pool Money is given out. Staff should draw up Pool Money Rules which are the criteria for how the money is to be given out.
The Rules should be displayed somewhere that staff can see them. The employer/trainer should check the Rules to see that staff members are not being discriminated against (e.g. checking to see there is not a rule that women would be paid less Pool Money than men).
Pool Money can only be paid to those currently on the Register of Stable Staff or employed during the Pool Money period. Only staff entitled to Pool Money can decide on the Rules.
NASS does not say what the Rules should be as what is fair will vary greatly from yard to yard, depending on how you work. Some yards will have a Pool Money Committee who is representative of the views of Stable Staff. Other yards may do everything by a yard vote.
Either way you must have Rules and it is a good idea to have a main contact person (e.g. the Chairman of the Committee or a head lad) who people can contact with any queries or complaints. Our advice is to ensure the Rules are fair and clearly understandable.
The Pool Money Return
The employer/trainer receives the money on behalf of Stable Staff. Based on the Rules the employer/trainer calculates what each member of staff is entitled to and completes the Pool Money Return.
The Return includes the names of the staff entitled to Pool Money and says how much each person is going to be paid. The Return should then be signed by the trainer and displayed in the yard where all staff can see it.
This is your opportunity to see how things have been done and raise any complaints.
Payment of Pool Money
Pool Money is paid out 4 times a year. It is taxed but national insurance is not deducted. It must be paid within 21 days from the date the trainer signed the Return
Section 18 of the MoA sets out the minimum terms on what you will be paid if you are off work because of sickness or due to an accident. Click here to access the Memorandum of Agreement
If you are off work as you are sick or due to an accident (that was not at work) and you have been with your employer for 6 months then you are entitled to 1 months full pay in any 1 year. If the accident was caused by fighting, use of drugs or alcohol you might not be eligible for the 1 month’s full pay.
The first 3 days of leave due to illness or an accident (that was not at work) are called “waiting days” – your employer is not required to pay you for these 3 days, although most reasonable employers do pay you for them.
If you had an accident at work then you do not have to work somewhere for 6 months to qualify for the 1 month’s full pay. The 3 waiting says don’t count either and you get paid a full wage from the date of your accident at work (see RIABS below).
For the first 28 weeks you are off work due to sickness or accident you may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). If you are off work due to illness or accident (that was not at work) then after 1 month your employer may drop your wages down to SSP (if you are eligible).
Section 19 of the MoA covers RIABS, which is a scheme set up by the NTF. Click here to access the Memorandum of Agreement.
If you have an accident at work (or travelling to or from work) causing you to be unable to work for a temporary period you may be eligible for a weekly payment to cover/help cover your wages.
The weekly payment tops up your SSP so that you take home a weekly wage of up to £300. If your normal weekly wage is less than £300 after tax, RIABS will top your wages up to your normal weekly wage - so if you usually get £280 after tax and you are receiving SSP of £88.45 then RIABS will pay you £191.55.
Permanent Disability or Death
If you have an accident at work or travelling to or from work causing permanent disability or death and your claim is accepted by RIABS you may be paid a lump sum payout.
Stable Staff Who May Claim
For the weekly payment to have a claim you must be paid by your trainer, be on the Register of Stable Staff and be between 15 and 65. If you have a jockeys licence you will only be eligible for RIABS if you had less than 74 rides during the last season
Both you and your employer must make contributions in to the scheme. Your RIABS contribution is only £2.37 per week. If a deduction is not being made from your wages then check the position with your employer as a matter of urgency
How to Claim
Firstly, complete the accident book if you are able to do so. The RIABS claim form should be submitted as soon as possible after your accident. It must be submitted within 3 months of the accident otherwise RIABS may reject your claim for being too late. Your employer will have access to the RIABS claim form on the NTF website.
- Part A of the form is to be completed by you and your employer – it asks for details of the accident so this is a handy time to refer to the accident book – it also asks for details of your wages prior to your accident but your employer should have this information. It is important to discuss with your employer if RIABS will pay you directly after the 1st month of being off work (see below)
- Part B is to be completed by your doctor – make an appointment as soon as possible. Some doctors will charge you up to £25 for completing this document, but it is necessary in order for RIABS to consider your claim. Any sick note you have should be submitted with the RIABS claim form
The claim form and supporting documents are sent to SLS Crawford who administers RIABS. We have found SLS Crawford to be efficient and once they have all the information they need, they can process the claim quite quickly. Where things are not clear sometimes decisions need to be referred to the Trustees of RIABS which can obviously mean things take a little longer
When you have an accident at work your employer pays you your usually weekly wage for the 1st month you are off work injured. If the claim is accepted then RIABS will pay your employer back the difference between SSP and £300 after tax. If you remain off work injured your employer will continue to pay SSP for 28 weeks. After being off for 1 month, your employer can carry of paying you £300 after tax (including SSP) or RIABS can pay you directly the difference between SSP and £300. If in Part A of the claim form you said you wished to be paid directly by RIABS then you will be paid every 2 weeks by cheque. You must submit doctor’s notes in order to be paid your weekly benefit. Usually after 1 year RIABS will ask for a consultant to review you and assess your progress/ability to return to work. If there is a prospect you may return to work then RIABS may continue to pay you from 2 years from the date of your accident.
This can be a complicated area of law that often changes and is not covered by the MoA – the law sets out what you are entitled to and what you must do.
If you are pregnant or have recently given birth, you should inform your employer. Your employer then looks at the risks your job involves and discusses them with you. They may need to make adjustments to your working practices.
Your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you because you are pregnant i.e. treat you unfairly because of your pregnancy.
It does not matter how long you have worked for your employer, if you are pregnant you are entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave. What you get paid during this maternity leave depends on how long you have been with your employer at a certain point during your pregnancy. You might be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance. To see what you will be paid you can go online and visit the maternity pay calculator https://www.gov.uk/pay-leave-for-parents or call the NASS office.
You cannot start maternity leave until 11 weeks before your due date. Although you do not have to take the full 52 weeks maternity leave you must take off the 2 weeks before the baby is due. You should inform your employer when your baby is due and when you would like to start your maternity leave.
Whilst you are on maternity leave you continue to accrue holiday pay. If you are unable to take the holiday leave by the end of the holiday year, what you are entitled to can carry over to the next holiday year.