What reps need to know about pay progression

Introducing RCN National Officer Hannah Reed who is developing new materials that explain how pay progression in the NHS will work

Since the three-year NHS pay deal in England was agreed last summer, negotiations have continued about how aspects of the settlement will be implemented.

Hannah Reed, RCN National Officer and Team Leader NHS, has been overseeing those discussions on behalf of the College.

Hannah joined the RCN in October last year after 18 years at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) where she was policy lead on individual and collective employment rights.

“I’m a great believer in the important role collective bargaining and negotiations between trade unions and employers can play in delivering high-standard pay and conditions for working people,” she says.

Nursing staff are the backbone of the NHS and ensuring they receive decent pay is critical

So the opportunity to help the RCN deliver on fair pay, in partnership with others on the NHS Staff Council, was an attractive proposition.

“Nursing staff are the backbone of the NHS,” Hannah says. “And ensuring they receive decent pay and conditions is critical to moving the NHS forward. 

One of my roles now is to make sure that the pay deal is implemented effectively and that RCN members benefit from it.”

She adds: “While the team I lead has recently focused on implementing the England pay deal, we are also working very closely with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure there’s a continued four-country approach to pay and conditions for NHS nursing staff.”

My role now is to make sure the pay deal is implemented effectively

Hannah and her team of fellow national officers are currently working with other health unions and employers on important points to emerge from the three-year pay deal. Pay progression is one of them. 

Hannah Reed, RCN National OfficerHannah Reed

The 2018 agreement on reform of Agenda for Change in England introduced provisions for a new pay system with faster progression to the top of pay bands, with fewer pay-step points.

In negotiations with employers and other health unions, the RCN is working to produce resources for members, reps and officers on how pay progression will work from 1 April.

Making sure the system works fairly

“The guidance and materials provide checklists for employers, managers and staff,” says Hannah. “The RCN is also working with other trade unions to provide negotiating guides – toolkits for reps – to ensure the new system works fairly and that members are able to move on smoothly to the next pay step.”

At the outset, limited numbers of members will be affected by the pay progression changes – only new entrants who join after 1 April and individuals promoted to new roles. 

But Hannah says reps need to make sure local managers don’t try to introduce the new pay progression arrangements for all staff.

“Local partnership boards should be being set up in trusts to discuss how pay progression will be implemented and obviously it’s important those boards have full staff representation, including RCN representation.”

Other strands of the pay deal the RCN is currently working on with staff side and employers include:

  • enhanced shared parental leave
  • child bereavement leave
  • buying and selling of annual leave.

Activate will offer updates on these negotiations as they develop.

Find out more

For pay progression resources visit NHS Employers website

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