• Band one staff could see Sunday pay reduced from double time to time plus 94 percent
  • Unions stress the overall cash value during out of hours work will remain unchanged
  • NHS Employers told HSJ it wanted to “harmonise” unsocial hours pay

Some NHS staff will see a permanent reduction in their out of hours pay rates as part of the new Agenda for Change deal agreed between unions and NHS Employers.

The change will only affect the lowest paid NHS workers in bands one to three and unions and NHS Employers stressed it will not affect the “cash value” of out of hours pay, due to the new minimum salaries introduced as part of the deal unveiled this week.

But the change does mean a permanent reduction to rates of pay for out of hours work which has been a key target for the government in previous talks and was a particular focus in the 2016 junior doctors dispute.

The cut to out of hours rates was not highlighted when the deal was launched this week but HSJ has confirmed the details which will see band one NHS workers –  including porters and catering assistants – having their out of hours pay on Sundays and public holidays drop from double time to time plus 94 per cent over the next three years. Pay on Saturday will drop three percentage points over the next three years to time plus 47 per cent.

However, band one workers, of which there are approximately 27,500 in the NHS, will see a new rate of basic pay from April - £17,460, up from £15,251 – and the band will be closed to new entrants from December 1.

Band two staff – which include clinical support staff, pharmacy assistants, patient transport staff and – could see their out of hours pay drop by five percentage points over the next three years.

They are currently paid time plus 88 percent on Sundays and public holidays, but this will gradually decrease to time plus 83 percent by 2020-21.

Band three staff will also see a five percentage point drop, from time plus 74 per cent to time plus 69 per cent over the next three years.

Out of hours pay at the current rate compared to rates agreed in Agenda for Change

 Pay bandCurrent rate2018-192019-202020-21
Band 1 - All time on Saturday and week days after 8pm and before 6am Time plus 50% Time plus 49% Time plus 48% Time plus 47%
Band 1 - All time on Sundays and public holidays (midnight to midnight) Double time Time plus 97% Time plus 95% Time plus 94%
Band 2 - All time on Saturday and week days after 8pm and before 6am Time plus 44% Time plus 43% Time plus 42% Time plus 41%
Band 2 - All time on Sundays and public holidays (midnight to midnight) Time plus 88% Time plus 85% Time plus 84% Time plus 83%
Band 3 - All time on Saturday and week days after 8pm and before 6am Time plus 37% Time plus 36% Time plus 35% Time plus 35%
Band 3 - All time on Sundays and public holidays (midnight to midnight) Time plus 74% Time plus 72% Time plus 70% Time plus 69%

Unison head of health and chair of the staff side council, Sara Gorton told HSJ the deal included a “no detriment clause” so workers “will be better off”, but she acknowledged there were circumstances that could “come out of the woodwork”.

She added: “If you work unsocial hours that is a mixture of a percentage premium and an hourly rate [staff] will get more for because their salary has increased.

“Overall everyone’s current unsocial hours pay will be protected, and in fact will increase as basic salaries go up.

“Adjusting the method of calculating the unsocial hours payment for bands one to three is to protect the current value of the payment, and improve it as basic pay increases over the three years. It is designed to ensure that the system remains fair to all.”

Chief executive of NHS Employers Danny Mortimer said lower paid staff have historically had a greater proportion of their total earnings linked to unsocial hours payments, which are set at a higher rate for them.

Mr Mortimer said: “We are now investing significantly more in these colleagues’ basic pay and it was agreed that it was appropriate to start the journey towards harmonising the unsocial hours payments with the rest of our staff as we invest more in basic pay.”