NHS Employers and unions representing staff on Agenda for Change contracts have agreed joint proposals for unsocial hours pay.

The plans aim to harmonise the conditions of staff within pay bands and are subject to consultation with union members. If agreed, staff on the lowest pay grades will be paid double time on Sundays and public holidays, and time plus 50 per cent on Saturdays or weekdays between 8pm and 6am.

NHS Employers head of non-medical pay and negotiations Geoffrey Winnard said: "We have had to make sure those on the lower levels came up a bit and some on the higher pay grades have come down, but these changes will be brought in over three years so everyone should be assured that their pay will not go down."

Unsocial hours supplements are tapered, with staff on the highest grades earning the smallest supplements at time plus 60 per cent for Sundays and holidays and time plus 30 per cent for Saturdays and nights.

If agreed by union members, the new scales could be implemented from April 2008.