Pay

Information about pay in Scotland.

Nursing pay

Here you can find the latest information about the proposals for NHS pay, and what it means in Scotland.


The Scottish Government has developed a pay journey tool. Staff on Agenda for Change contracts can use the tool to show how their pay will increase over the course of the three-year pay deal agreed in August 2018.

Pay journey tool

Check how your pay will change up to 2021

NHS pay reforms

The RCN has accepted proposed reforms in four areas after consulting members in January and March this year. The four areas are:


  • Processes for managing sickness will be strengthened with an emphasis on meaningful engagement with staff who are absent from work, with a particular emphasis on managing short term absences. 
  • Consistent processes for occupational health referral will be embedded and return to work interviews will become standardised. 
  • Staff will suffer no financial penalty related to sickness and will continue to receive enhanced payments whilst off on sick leave. 
  • There will be an organisational aim to reduce sickness absence levels by 0.5% per year in each of the three years of the pay deal.

  • NHS Scotland will continue to work on the principle that staff should automatically progress through increments associated with their pay band. 
  • Yearly PDPR processes will be followed and recorded for all staff via the NHS Scotland TURAS recording system. 
  • Staff will only not progress to the next increment in the following circumstances and will progress when the following issues have been resolved:
  • Staff wilfully fail to complete agreed statutory and mandatory training associated with their role, if the employer has provided opportunities for that training to take place. 
  • Staff who are on a stage 2 capability process.
  • Managers who have not completed agreed PDPR processes (within reason) for staff whom they manage.

  • Staff who work beyond their contracted hours on any shift will be eligible to record additional time worked and take that time back as agreed with their line manager.
  • Eligibility to record TOIL will be any additional time worked from 15 minutes after normal working shift time has ended. 
  • TOIL will be accrued and recorded in 15 minute blocks and will be recorded on an electronic recording system. 
  • TOIL will not be used as a method for working additional hours, no more than 15 hours of TOIL should be accrued in any calendar month and should be taken as soon as possible. 
  • Any TOIL not able to be taken within 3 months will be paid to staff as per the agenda for change handbook.

  • The proposals are prospective, that is, if agreed, they will cover any member of staff employed on and Agenda for Change (AFC) contract in NHS Scotland who are involved in organisational change from the 1st April 2019. Any staff who are currently on protection will see no change in their current protection arrangements.
  • Organisational change is defined as a management or organisational change which impacts on an individual’s contractual earnings or they are redeployed into a lower banded post. In these circumstances organisational change protection will apply on a ‘no detriment’ basis (i.e., employees will be no worse off financially as a result of the change).
  • NHS Scotland wish to ensure staff who are on grade protection are returned to work at the grade they are employed. It is hoped the new proposals will ensure every opportunity is used to redeploy staff into a role within their substantive grade.
  • On an individual basis the proposals sets out clearly what an employee can expect if they require protection due to organisational change to ensure that they do not suffer detriment. Employees who require to be on protection will receive written confirmation of what level of protection is required and for what is the reason for protection.
  • A significant addition in the proposals is to allow employees who are on protected pay to secure a promoted post. Their protection will be taken into account when placing them on the new grade to ensure the employee suffers no detriment.
  • There are a number of elements that continue to apply from the current policy. There is no time limit for protection to apply. Individuals will be protected until their earnings exceed the level of protection in the organisational change process. This was previously called ‘lifetime protection’.
  • Offsetting and working up to the level of protection continue to be included and are explained in the proposals.
  • Significant changes to staff on-call, shift patterns and hours are explicitly covered in the proposals to ensure there is a consistency throughout NHS Scotland on how protection is calculated and paid in these circumstances.
  • The proposals also include provision for both NHS board and national monitoring of protection to ensure that effective scrutiny of the process and financial governance in relation to pay protection.

NHS pay scales 2019-2020

Find out more about NHS pay scales for 2019-2020

Find out more about the implementation of the reforms on the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee website.

If you have any questions about the pay deal, pay reforms or nursing pay in general, please contact PayCampaignScotland@rcn.org.uk 


Independent sector and non-NHS staff

The pay deal and current negotiations on pay reform are for staff employed in the NHS only. 

The RCN believes all health and social care employers need to have a pay system that is competitive with the NHS. 

Some are based on NHS structures, some are set independently and in some instances pay rates are dictated by budgets. 

We anticipate that improvements in NHS pay will have a positive effect on pay in other sectors. 

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Page last updated - 02/12/2019