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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.

NHS pay reforms - member consultation

A three-year pay deal for NHS staff in Scotland was agreed in August 2018 - read more

The deal included plans for further negotiations on four areas of reform to terms and conditions - managing sickness absence, appraisal and incremental pay progression, time off in lieu (TOIL) and organisational change/income protection.

Negotiations on three out of four of areas of reform (sickness absence, appraisal and incremental pay progression and TOIL policy) have concluded with proposals in place and RCN members were consulted on the proposals in January.

The results of the consultation were reviewed by the RCN Trade Union Committee and RCN Scotland Board and a response will now be taken to a meeting of the joint trade unions and employers in mid-March for a final decision. 

Check back on this page for further information.

Negotiations on the proposed reform of pay protection arrangements are continuing - check back on this page for updates. 

Click on each heading below for more detail on the proposals.

Get involved Scotland

RCN Scotland is proud to be the voice of nursing Scotland.

  • 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.

  • 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 at plain rate.

  • 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.

If you have any questions or would like the full details of the proposals for NHS pay reforms, please contact us at

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Pay deal for NHS staff

A three-year pay deal for NHS staff was agreed in August 2018 - read more
The majority of RCN members working in NHS Scotland will see their pay increase by at least 9% by April 2021.
The agreement includes restructuring of existing pay bands, with a reduction in the number of pay points so the majority of staff will progress more quickly to the top of their pay band. Overlaps between the bands will be removed.
Full details of the proposed deal can still be found on the NHS Pay website


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Stewart Donnelly

Three-year NHS pay deal is by no means the end of the fight

Read former RCN Scotland Board Chair Stewart Donnelly's blog on NHS pay in Scotland

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. 

Page last updated - 11/02/2019