Implementation of initial pay awards
These FAQs focus on the initial pay award implemented by governments in England and Wales.
CSP members rejected this award, and embarked on a industrial action campaign for fair pay. This resulted in a revised pay offer from the Welsh government in 2023, that members subsequently accepted.
Later, following CSP and health worker strike action, the government in England returned to negotiations, and have made a revised offer covering 2022-23 and 2023-24. CSP members were consulted over this revised offer through April 2023, and accepted, along with most health unions.
The 2022/23 pay award
Will the 2022-23 non-consolidated pay offers be subject to tax and pension contributions?
The non-consolidated payments will not be pensionable and will therefore not count towards pension tiers and your employee pension contributions will not be deducted from the payments if you are a member of the NHS pension scheme.
The two parts of the non-consolidated payments will be paid as one lump sum payment and will be subject to tax and national insurance (NI) deductions, as required by normal HMRC rules.
Why does the 2022-23 offer not apply the same percentage bonus across all bands?
The first element of the non-consolidated amount is distributed as a flat two per cent across all pay points. The second ‘backlog bonus’ is four per cent (of the NHS 22/23 total wage bill) but is distributed at slightly different rates for different pay points.
The 2023-24 payment offer is a straight percentage uplift across all pay points, recognising the need to ensure higher paid staff receive the same percentage uplift, particularly having received a lower percentage in 2022-23 when the Pay Review Body recommended a flat rate rise (the £1400 award).
Who is eligible for the non-consolidated payment?
The non-consolidated payments will apply to staff directly employed by the NHS on 31 March 2023. The payment will be based on the pay point as of 31 March 2023 as shown in the table outlining the amounts payable.
Only staff employed by the NHS on 31 March 2023 will be eligible. Unfortunately this is common practice with a lump sum payment – as it is applied on a particular day and not for different periods during the year. This means anyone who has left NHS employment prior to this date will not be eligible.
Will the one-off payments be worked out pro-rata?
Yes, they will be pro-rata for part-time staff.
Are the one-off payments affected by London weighting?
No, the one-off non-consolidated components are made on basic pay by band. High Cost Area Supplements payments are therefore not included in the calculation.
Will I be entitled to the non-consolidated payment if I have been on maternity/parental/adoption leave?
Staff on maternity/parental/adoption leave remain employed and are therefore eligible to receive the non-consolidated payments. This will be based on their pay point on the 31 March 2023.
What if I changed employer after 31 March 2023?
The NHS organisation that employed you on 31 March 2023 will be responsible for making the payment. We suggest you contact them to discuss how this will be managed.
What if I have changed Band during 2022-23?
The non-consolidated payment will be based on the pay point as of 31 March 2023. This includes temporary promotions and secondments.
Will bank staff receive the non-consolidated payments?
The pay, terms and conditions arrangements for bank staff across the NHS vary considerably. Depending on the local bank contract there may be an entitlement to the non-consolidated sum on a pro rata basis if the contract specifically provides for a dynamic link to Agenda for Change pay terms and conditions. We would advise members in this position to discuss with their local steward in the first instance.
I am on a career break. Will I be entitled to receive the non-consolidated payment?
This will be for local employers to determine on a case-by-case basis. We would therefore advise you speak to your local steward in the first instance.
I work for a Social Enterprise or Community Interest Company. Will I be entitled to receive this payment?
Most SECs and CICs employ staff on dynamic Agenda for Change (AfC) contracts with an on-going commitment to implementing AfC pay, terms and conditions. If this is the case, we would expect these employers to implement the full offer. We would advise members to speak to their local steward in the first instance.
The CSP, alongside other trade unions, has supported the call for the government to provide funding to SEC/CICs that provide NHS services and employ staff on Agenda. We have also worked with members locally to try to secure payment of the non-consolidated lump sum wherever possible. We hope that the request for a judicial review will lead to the government reconsidering its position on the funding.
I undertake NHS work but I am not directly employed by the NHS. Will I receive this payment?
The pay, terms and conditions for staff working for outside the NHS, even when delivering NHS services, varies considerably. It will depend on your individual employment contract as to whether you are likely to have a contractual entitlement to all or any parts of the offer. A contract that sets out an entitlement to Agenda for Change pay, terms and conditions with a clear commitment to implementing all national uplifts and changes is likely to lead to a contractual entitlement.
What was the value of the award?
We have set out what the pay awards in England and Wales mean in a table. This shows the percentage rise equivalent for each band. For most of our members it will be a rise of about 4 per cent before accounting for inflation, but for those in band 8a and above the rise is less than 3 per cent – which will include many managers and advanced practitioners.
What is a 'flat rate' rise?
A pay rise where everyone is given the same amount rather than a percentage of their salary is known as a flat rate rise.
It can be a good thing to do, particularly at a time of high inflation when the increase in cost of living affects all workers similarly – e.g. household bills – regardless of earnings. It assists the lowest-paid NHS staff, including our own physiotherapy support workers, something the CSP has a long history of supporting.
However, all NHS staff need and deserve a pay increase that keeps pace with inflation, including the experienced managers and specialist clinicians in bands 8/9, who receive just 1.3-3 per cent under this award.
The problem with this award is not the way it is structured but the fact that it is not nearly enough. It is less than half inflation for most of our membrs and less than a third in the higher bands.
I am on a bank contract. Would I receive the pay award?
You will need to look at your individual contract to see how your bank rates are determined and whether they follow Agenda for Change rates including uplifts.
Will there be a rise to High Cost Area Supplements (HCAS)?
The minimum and maximum HCAS payments – available to staff working in the London area – have been raised in line with the pay award.
The details of the new rates can be found in table 1 of annex 9 of the NHS Terms and Conditions Handbook.
I work outside the NHS. How does this affect me?
The Pay Review Body process and government award only applies directly to staff employed by the NHS on Agenda for Change contracts. Private employers have a right to set their own pay, terms and conditions.
You would need to check your own contract to see what it says about pay. If it does clearly state it will follow Agenda for Change pay rates, including any annual awards, then it is likely your employer will pay the rise, but it is always important to check the detail of the contract.
It is important to note that the NHS remains the biggest healthcare employer and as such does influence pay in the private sector. The greater the pay in the NHS the more this is likely to be reflected as private organisations compete for the same pool of staff.
Impact on pensions
What about the impact of pension changes on pay?
There are changes to pension contributions in October that may impact on individual pay. These will vary depending on band and hours of work – some may see an increase and others a decrease in contributions. The NHS pension scheme is governed completely separately from NHS pay and is legally subject to triennial valuations, as are all other occupational pension schemes.
What action is being taken about the impact of the award on pension contributions?
The CSP has raised serious concerns nationally along with other NHS trade unions. We have highlighted the impact this can have on recruitment and retention, and in particular career progression into band 8a. The narrowing gap between the top of band 7 and bottom of band 8a is increasingly a disincentive for staff to move up into those crucial positions.
The pay award this year was also delayed, meaning that the change in pension contributions has had an even bigger impact for those who are now in pension arrears.
In addition, for lower paid workers, the delay in the pay award and the resulting back pay could affect the receipt of some state benefits. The CSP believes that this has further highlighted the need to raise the specific position of those in band 8a, and we are working with other trade unions with members who have been similarly affected to ensure this is high on the agenda nationally
I am on band 8a and I have been told the pay award has resulted in pension arrears that I must now pay back. What does that mean?
The pay award may push some members into a higher pension contribution rate tier, and those members will be required to pay a higher contribution rate from 1 April to 30 September.
It is anticipated that this may affect members at bands 3, 5 and 8a. In some cases, for those at band 8a, the arrears in pension contributions may exceed the backdated pay award. This will mean that those in band 8a may owe more in pensions arrears than the pay they receive in the backdated pay award and this will need to be repaid.
Your employer should offer the option of paying any outstanding arrears in instalments rather than in one lump sum. If your employer does not allow this, please contact your workplace steward in the first instance.
I am on band 8a and do not want to pay back the pensions arrears. Can I refuse the pay award?
This is not presently possible as all NHS employers are required to apply the pay award.
Your employer should offer you the option of paying any outstanding arrears in instalments rather than in one lump sum so that the cost is spread more evenly.
If your employer does not allow this, please contact your workplace steward in the first instance who can support you to raise this with your employer.
Will changes to the NHS Pension Scheme prevent pay awards leading to pension arrears in the future?
A new member contribution structure will be implemented from 1 October 2022.
The new contribution tier thresholds will be uplifted each year in line with the annual NHS terms and conditions of service pay award to reduce the risk of members moving into a higher tier as a direct result of a national pay award.
It may not be possible to prevent this on all occasions, particularly as it will now depend on the actual pay rather than the whole-time equivalent pay.