What does the pay deal mean for you?

By Alice Sorby, Employment Relations Advisor Midwifery MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Pay and Agenda For Change

In spite of everything that’s going on around us, some parts of life do continue as normal. One of those things is the new NHS pay round. Year three of the Framework Agreements (covering pay award and reform of Agenda for Change) in England, Scotland and Wales begins on 1 April 2020. In Northern Ireland RCM members have just accepted an offer which restores pay parity with midwives and MSWs in England. RCM members in Northern Ireland should refer to this document for information.

Midwives and MSWs at the top of the pay band the increase is from the pay uplift effective 1 April 2020. In England and Wales for bands 2 to 8c this increase is 1.67%. For staff at the top of bands 8d and 9 the basic pay increase will be capped at the level of the increase for the top of band 8c. In Scotland the increase for everyone at the top of the pay band is 2.86%.

This would be a really long blog if I attempted to describe in detail the structural reforms in this final year. The UK countries have published guidance documents detailing the year three changes so I don’t have to do it here.

In England the NHS Staff Council guidance includes FAQs, scenarios and the pay tool is a great resource to find out exactly what the changes mean for you. Members in Scotland can access the pay circular to see what the changes mean for them, while the Wales guidance will be published soon.

The reform elements of the agreements remove the overlaps between bands to increase starting and promotion pay and decrease the number of incremental pay points in bands. This will make it quicker to reach the full rate for the role in most bands. Below is a very brief overview of some of the changes in this final year as further pay points are deleted.

Because the reforms have taken place across three years, increases have varied for those who have not reached the top of the pay band. Bands 5, 6 and 7 were particularly long in the old structure and for midwives at certain points on those bands reform has taken the full three years. Therefore some midwives will automatically move to the top of their pay bands on 1 April 2021 and will not be subject to the new pay progression arrangements (which apply to new and promoted staff in England and Wales from 1 April 2019). The reforms at specific points of band 8a to 9 are also slightly more complicated in year three due to the deletion of pay points.

I want to be clear that these pay increases don’t make up for a decade of pay restraint. Now we are nearing the end of the agreements we are already turning our attention to a meaningful pay increase for midwives and MSWs in 2021/22. Although events may have drowned it out, 2020 is still the year of the midwife, a year to celebrate the contribution you make to the lives of families every day. It is also a great year to prioritise investment in maternity services and their amazing staff.