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NHS pay deal: increments explained

 Josie Irwin 29 Mar 2018

RCN lead negotiator Josie Irwin outlines modifications to Agenda for Change, following a number of questions from members.

Nurse on ward
As negotiators in the pay deal, we wanted to get as much money as possible into members’ pockets. 
Put simply, the new deal simplifies the system of incremental pay and means you’ll earn more, sooner.
The number of pay points has been reduced, which will speed up the rate at which members will progress to the top point of their band.
The rises in pay between increments are bigger than the present arrangement – for example, in band 5, the incremental rise, in the reduced scale, will be between 8.25% and 13.5%, rather than the average 3% rise between incremental points now.
Staff will spend longer on each pay point, but this is offset by the rise between increments which is now worth much more.
The three years of the deal are a period of transition to this new approach and during this time some staff will get a higher increase than others because of which pay band they are on and how long they’ve been there.  This is inevitable in such a big change package for more than one million staff.
Members may be concerned that progressing through the band will now be subject to a positive annual report. However, under Agenda for Change, increments have always been related to annual appraisals and our records shows progression is very rarely prevented – almost never.
Nurses are professionals who continually develop themselves and their clinical practice, and there is no reason to believe that the new system will be any different for the vast majority of our members.
The new pay structure is a positive change for the nursing profession, meaning staff progress faster to the top of pay bands and promotion, and we are recommending that all our members support the deal when voting opens on 23 April.
If you’re still unsure about how increments will work in the new pay deal, visit our website and or attend one of events around the country to let your voice be heard.

Josie Irwin

Josie Irwin

RCN Associate Director of Employment Relations


Josie is the RCN’s chief negotiator. Her role includes providing leadership on pay and reward for nurses and health care assistants and direction on employment issues, including workforce planning, the working environment, health and safety and diversity.

Page last updated - 05/09/2018