NHS pay in England has been back in the media again over the past few weeks, so I want to use my column to look at the agreement again and hopefully clarify a few things for you.
The information that the RCM has provided on the agreement, which combines both pay award and reform of Agenda for Change, was accurate throughout the consultation and has been since.
We know that the deal is complex and affects midwives and MSWs in different ways depending on where you sat in the pay structure as of 31 March 2018 (the agreement is from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2021). There are a couple of charts showing different aspects of the restructure process, with one showing the pay journey for individual members and one showing the reform of the structure (which is a static tool for use by payroll). Understandably this has led to some confusion, the information on both the documents is the same but presented in different ways.
To make it easier to understand exactly what the changes mean for you a pay calculator was developed for members to use during the consultation period, this was held on a joint union site so that everyone was accessing the same information. You can still access that calculator, there is also now a full pay journey tool here and I encourage you to use this if you still have questions about the changes. There are also some frequently asked questions jointly held on the NHS Employers website.
I will now try and explain, in a nutshell, where we are on the implementation of the agreement. If you are at the top of your pay band, your increase comes from the pay award. In your July pay, you should have received a 3% increase; in your August pay, you should receive back pay in full from 1 April 2018 including unsocial hours.
If you are below the top and above the bottom point of a band (the bottom point of each pay band has now been removed), you should have received around a 1.5% increase in your July pay and in August back pay on that amount. The rest of your increase will come on your next incremental date. So the increase is phased in for you, but in general if you are in this group your increase over the three years as a percentage exceeds those at the top of the pay band.
The agreement means we have started to recoup the losses of the last eight years – it doesn’t make up for all the years of pay restraint, but it is the best deal in the public sector and marks the beginning of us once again being able to negotiate for fair pay on behalf of members.