Pay and Agenda for Change reform

on 21 March 2018 Pay and Agenda For Change

The RCM and Staff Side unions have been involved in negotiations with employers since December 2017 to come up with a Framework agreement combining both pay and structural reform of Agenda for Change, to benefit all NHS staff and to put to our members for consultation. This will be fully funded by the government and not come out of existing NHS funding.

For members in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland budgets will go through the Barnett formula, to allow unions, devolved governments and employers to hold discussions on the Framework. Please see individual country web pages for more details. 

The consultation is now closed.

The result of the consultation on pay in England for RCM was 85.7% in favour of acceptance. In Scotland ,Wales and NI the result was accept by between 83 to 76%. Negotiations continue based now on further available funding.The NHS lead negotiators meeting today received reports of similar results for thirteen other unions. The proposals were agreed formally at the NHS Staff Council on 27 June. The Pay Review Body Report has now been published and supports the deal, you can read the report here

Changes to pay should come in to force from 1st July, with back pay from the 1st April. If there are any issues or queries please contact Alice Sorby. 

There will be various sub-groups of the NHS Staff Council formed to take the framework forward these will look at apprenticeships, progression, bank and agency, leave and equality impact. We will update members on this work when we have more information.

You can access frequently asked questions here and the framework agreement here.  

See RCM media release here

The Framework agreement

We have argued for a number of years that changes to Agenda for Change are necessary in order to modernise and make the pay system fairer.

This includes:

The removal of overlaps between bands to increase starting and promotion pay

Decreasing the number of incremental pay points in bands to make it quicker to reach the rate for the role

Below you can find out more about the Framework agreement. You can find out exactly how your salary will change by using the pay calculator at the joint union site          

Lots of the materials have been developed jointly with the other unions to ensure staff across the NHS are getting the same information.  If you have any more questions please contact:

Alice Sorby, Employment Relations Advisor [email protected]                

Threats that were fought off

We have successfully opposed moves to diminish the value of unsocial hours; current rates of unsocial hour’s payments are protected. There will be no performance related pay there will be no substantial changes to pay progression which has been subject to appraisal since 2013.You will not lose any annual leave, this was widely reported as being part of the deal but is not in the proposed agreement.

No detriment clause

The Framework includes a 'no detriment' clause to ensure that no member of staff is worse off from the deal.

Pay award

For those at the top point of each pay band up to band 8c, pay will be increased by 6.5% cumulatively over the three year period. The effective date for pay awards will still be 1st April.

  • 3% in 2018/19
  • 1.7% in 2019/20 + a cash sum of 1.1%
  • 1.7% in 2020/21

Changes to pay bands

Overlaps between pay bands will be removed – by removing the bottom points from each band. This will increase starting salaries across all bands.

Pay bands will be restructured (this will take place over 3 years with most changes complete by April 2020):

  • Bands 2-4 the number of pay points will be reduced to two points.
  • Bands 5-9 the number of pay points will be three.

Many members not at the top of their pay band will see increases over three years through a combination of incremental progression, reform of the structure and the pay award (as by the end of the three years the majority of members will be at the band which will have increased by 6.5%). The interval between each point will no longer be yearly. Overall this means a pay structure where staff get to the top point more quickly with higher starting and promotion pay. For new midwives entering the profession Band 5-6 accelerated progression will continue.

Do check the pay calculator to see what it means for you, because the next three years is a transition period there is an individual journey for each pay point. For many members you will have reached the top of your pay band by the end of the three years.

Band 1 will be closed to new entrants from December 2018 and the NHS will be a Real Living Wage Employer.                                                                                                                                                            

Bands 8c, 8d & 9

Pay increases at the top point will be capped at the level of the top of 8c.

Re-earnable pay, first introduced in 2013 will continue and be subject to annual appraisal. In the year after reaching the top of the band up to 5 or 10% of basic salary will become re-earnable. Salary will be able to be restored the following year subject to achieving agreed outcomes.

Staff on the top two points of these bands on 31 March 2013 have reserved rights to the relevant point; this will be retained on a marked time basis.

Pay progression

As is the case now, pay progression will be subject to:

  • Successful completion of the appraisal process
  • No formal capability or disciplinary action live on record
  • Statutory and/or mandatory training completed
  • If you are a line manager you must have completed appraisals for all staff within a set three month period                                                                                                     

Staff are expected to progress subject to meeting the above, funding calculations have been made on the basis that everyone who is able to progress will.                                                                              

There is a commitment from employers working with Staff Side to strengthen and improve the appraisal process. NHS Staff Council will be monitoring pay progression and re-earnable pay to ensure there is no equality impact.

Increasing productivity/capacity in the NHS

There will be a focus on improving health and wellbeing for all staff with the aim of decreasing levels of sickness absence.

NHS Staff Council are looking to explore what scope there is for a collective Framework agreement on bank and agency working, including  providing  incentives to encourage staff to offer time to internal staff banks.

Employers will work with trade unions to introduce local mechanisms to guarantee access to annual leave and time off in lieu (TOIL) provisions set out in the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook. The Staff Council will also determine national mechanisms to buy and sell leave.

For more information, please visit our Pay and Agenda for Change section.