NI Direct Customer Service Representatives
NI Direct is handling Covid-19 related calls and services on behalf of the Department of Health. This work is critical to the prevention and control of Covid-19 and to the effective roll-out of Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme.
To enable these critical services to be delivered, NICS staff and agency workers, at AO and analogous grades, are encouraged to volunteer to provide temporary support as Customer Service Representatives, handling calls on behalf of NI Direct.
Customer service experience is preferable for these roles but not essential.
Frequently asked questions
1. How will you select volunteers?
NICSHR will initially identify volunteers who have indicated they have customer service experience. If more volunteers from this group are available than required, random selection will be carried out.
If further volunteers are required, we will consider volunteers without customer service experience. Again, if more volunteers from this group are available than required, random selection will be carried out.
2. If I’m selected for redeployment, can I work remotely from home?
Yes, once you have completed your training it may be possible for staff to work from home if you have access to a good broadband connection.
3. Will I have to work different hours from what I currently work?
If you are temporary redeployed to NI Direct the hours of work will normally be the same as you currently carry out. However, for these roles, NI Direct are also offering an option to offer additional hours to your current role and working plan. These hours will be agreed between you and NI Direct but you should note that the minimum commitment needed for the NI Direct roles is 20 hours per week.
You should carefully consider if you can commit to that number of hours before you volunteer for this role.
4. Who organises any training if I need it for my temporary role?
NI Direct will organise any training required for your temporary role.
5. My Department has told me I can’t volunteer for redeployment, why?
Some roles within Departments are essential to critical day to day business, particularly if they are trying to mitigate impacts whilst experiencing a high level of workforce absence. Public interest requires us to keep these essential posts filled.
6. Who will cover the cost of my redeployment and/or additional hours?
Your normal branch will be expected to cover the cost of your salary while redeployed to NI Direct.
Where possible, the cost of any additional hours worked or overtime payments should be also covered by your normal branch (subject to confirmation of hours claimed with your NI Direct Line Manager).
Where your branch cannot cover the cost of additional hours or overtime, your line manager should contact Amanda McCulloch firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further options.
7. Who approves my annual leave request?
You should agree the leave initially with your NI Direct Line Manager and then apply through HRConnect as normal for your permanent Line Manager to approve.
8. What if I require Special Leave?
You apply to your NI Direct line manager and they will liaise with your permanent line manager. All special leave requests will be considered in line with the NICS Special Leave policy.
9. If I don’t like my new role can I transfer to another role?
No. If you do not like your new role, you will return to your normal post.
10. What do I do if I am concerned about Health & Safety in my new role?
You should raise any concerns with your NI Direct line manager. NI Direct must comply with all relevant requirements contained in or having effect under the legislation relating to health, safety and welfare at work. If you are still concerned after you raise your concerns with your NI Direct line manager, you can also contact your Departmental Trade Union rep for advice / guidance.
11. Will I receive a car park space, if required?
You will have to contact your NI Direct temporary line manager. Contact details will be on the letter that you will receive when you are selected for temporary redeployment.
12. How long will I be redeployed for?
The posts are initially for a six week period. Any extension to that period, if requested by NI Direct, would be allowed as long as you and your line manager agree.
13. What if I am unable to attend due to illness?
You will need to contact your permanent line manager as per normal procedure they will ten contact your NI Direct line manager to explain. You will remain subject to NICS sickness absence procedures and sick pay scheme and will attend any review meetings / medical examinations required by the department as detailed in the NICS Sickness Absence policy.
14. Will I be able to claim for any allowances/expenses during my temporary redeployment?
Yes, details of how you can apply will be contained in your redeployment letter.
15. Can I accrue the additional hours as flexi leave?
No, any additional hours should be claimed as additional payments at plain time or overtime rates, as appropriate, and in line with HR Handbook chapter 8.08 (Overtime Pay).
16. What overtime allowances am I entitled to?
You should consult HR Handbook chapter 8-08 (Overtime Pay) for full information on overtime rates and when they are payable.
Where applicable, overtime rates are:
Single Time (1.0) + a third (0.333)
( = 1.333)
Single Time (1.0) + a third (0.333) + Saturday Premium (0.5)
( = 1.833)
Single Time (1.0) + Sunday Premium (1.0)
( = 2)
17. I work part-time, what overtime allowances am I entitled to?
If you work part-time you will not qualify for overtime payment until you have completed the full conditioned hours of a full time officer. Additional hours worked by a part-time officer within the full time conditioned hours for the grade will attract payment at normal Plain Time Rate only.
Part time staff are entitled to premium payments for Saturday (and Sunday).
18. How can I claim for additional hours or overtime?
Where possible, the cost of any additional hours or overtime payments should be covered by your normal branch (subject to confirmation of hours claimed with your NI Direct line manager).
NICS staff should refer to this guidance Pay - Employees Quick Reference Guide
Agency workers should submit their additional hours on their weekly timesheet.
Where your branch cannot cover the cost, your line manager should contact Amanda McCulloch email@example.com to discuss further options.
19. How many additional hours can I work if I am under 18?
If you’re under 18, you can’t work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.
20. How many additional hours can I work if I am over 18?
You can’t work more than 48 hours a week on average - normally averaged over 17 weeks. This law is sometimes called the ‘working time directive’ or ‘working time regulations’. You can choose to work more than 48 hours a week on average if you’re over 18. This is called ‘opting out’. If you wish to opt out, you should complete the relevant form available from the Employee Services Portal (ERC 1.1e (R2) EU Working Time Directive).
21. What if I want to cancel my opt-out agreement?
You can cancel your opt-out agreement whenever you want. You should give NI Direct at least 7 days’ notice if you want to reduce your hours with them.