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Trusts plan to withhold incremental pay rises


One in three NHS organisations intend to tame their salary bills by withholding pay increments from staff, a survey of senior human resources managers indicates.

A survey of more than 100 human resources directors and deputy directors, carried out by Nursing Times’ sister title HSJ in partnership with NHS Employers, asked how likely it was that staff on the Agenda for Change pay framework would have their pay progression stopped in the next year.

In total 30% said it was very likely or likely staff in their organisation would have their pay increments withheld during the next 12 months. A further 39% said they were slightly likely to withhold increments.

The responses indicate a marked determination by NHS organisations to tackle what is known as “incremental drift”, an increase in salary costs as staff progress through pay bands established by Agenda for Change.

The pay framework covers more than a million staff, but not doctors. Around 55% of staff received an increment pay rise in 2012-13, worth on average 3.4 %.

This year the government is insisting that staff who are eligible for increments should be denied the 1% cost of living increase proposed for 2014-15.

Under the government’s proposals, those who do not receive increments because they fall short on performance measures would receive no pay rise at all.

Howard Catton, policy director at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Continued attacks on pay and the prospect of removing incentives, along with the mismatch of supply and demand, means people are going to have to look at the offer they are making to nurses.

“To reduce the offer flies in the face of the logic of what’s happening to the labour market and the forces of supply and demand we are seeing at play. There is an irony that it is market labour forces at work here.”

The survey also revealed that the majority of NHS organisations had introduced reforms that will make pay progression under Agenda for Change dependent on staff meeting performance standards that are agreed locally. These changes were agreed by NHS unions in February 2013.

HR barometer graph 1


Readers' comments (32)

  • they can only hold your increment if you are not performing to the required should of been told by your line manager months before they even try to stop your pay..that you are not performing and the correct procedures put in place for you to achive this

    if this ever happened to me i will take the trust straight to a tribunal

    this is just a money saving scheme from the penny pinching bean counters who will be at the top of thier band no doubt!!!

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  • I was a bank nurse who was put on 1st yr staff nurse pay after 40 yrs of being a nurse. I had been a sister and a practice nurse for 17yrs. In 3yrs of working I was denied any increments which galled me as I was continuously asked medical questions by younger staff. It was obvious that the trust was penny pinching.

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  • Once again nurses have to take the short fall to save on the NHS budget!!!
    First staff cuts, then 'debanding'. then no pay rise and now no increment!! Yet we are expected to keep our knowledge up to date and provide more and more as part of our role!! so so unfair!!
    How much more can we as a professional gorup take!!

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  • I have been asked to do bank work. I refuse as I would be paid year 1 band 5.....I am on a top 7. It seems to surprise some managers that I am unwilling to do extra hours for less than my normal rate!

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  • mmm well that will make recruitment of the best nurses easy for 31% organisations. If you want to deliver the best care you need a work force that feels valued.

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  • Being at the bottom of my band if this does take affect in my trust then I will not only loose out on my in recent but also on the 1% pay rise the government is only offering to those who are at the top of their bands! This is totally unfair! Inflation is still going up and our wages have been frozen for many years now. The NHS has been battered financially in so many ways which has ultimately caused massive problems for staff on the ground and ultimately having a massive impact on patient care! When is e government and the top NHS bosses going to wake up and realise this is just not fair!

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  • 6/06/14
    I am absolutley discussed at the total betrayal of the nursing profession by the goverment and the protentious, jobs for the boys, arrogant NHS hierachy. Slash their departments by half and cut/freeze their wages and lets see what happens!!
    Nursing has been a vocation for many in service. They have professional standards, working along side the newly qualified doctors. Teaching new staff. They are mentors, councillors, staticians, empathic and compassionate healers and financial wizards.
    Treat them how they deserve to be treated with a professionals wage. Everyone wants nurses to be professional but won't give them a professional pay the more than deserve!!Thier expected to pay for their license and insurance to work. I saw a post advertised for a Band 5 Paediatric Nurse with Anaestetic/theatre qualification for £21,000 + for preferred experience!! What an insult!!
    Wake up goverment, wake up bosses your heading for a disaterous melt down! What would happen if the few staff that are remaining (retention of the student nurse is an embarressment!!)should consider striking.
    Goverment and bosses don't compound an already volatile situation, give the nurses the little pitence they so rightfully deserve for the blood and guts work they do above and beyond the call of duty.

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  • So nurses are being held to ransom again! We are told that if we put your wages up the patient care will suffer!! It is just so wrong, will managers pay be withheld? I very much doubt it. Nurses have to stand up for themselves, be have been walked all over for far too long, it is time for action.

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  • Attacks on pay and conditions seems to be all this government wants. Management and politicians won't get their hands dirty and willing to sacrifice those delivering a service our patients wants.
    They're keeping pay low, which will demoralise staff and not help staffing numbers.
    Ever get the feeling some people just focus on money and profits from sick people and don't care who they step on in the process.

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  • emotional blackmail ,yet again, next the government will be passing a law making nurses exempt from the minimum wage, far to many nurses are being paid less than they deserve, I cant se mpos or bankers working for the wage a nurse gets because "it wouldn't attract talent"

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