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Trusts seek discussion on changes to out of hours pay arrangements

  • 35 Comments

Health service employers have insisted they do not want to rip up the Agenda for Change contract, but instead want to “reform and update” it.

It is only two years since a deal was agreed to make changes to the contract, including arrangements for sick pay, preceptorship payments and pay progression for senior nurses.

But since then ministers and managers have repeatedly stated a desire to water down further parts of Agenda for Change.

As part of the latest 1% pay deal with the government, unions agreed earlier this month to fresh talks on possible changes to terms and conditions in the contract.

 

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Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, noted that changes to unsocial hours payments, worth £1.8bn, “was one part of the conversation”.

“Unsocial hours are a priority area for us, but that’s not the only conversation we want to have”

Danny Mortimer

But he claimed he was not seeking a total renegotiation of the deal. “We are agreeing a timetable with unions for talks and we see a commitment on their part to have those discussions,” he said in an interview with Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.

“We have always wanted a rounded conversation about the contract,” he said. “Unsocial hours are a priority area for us, but that’s not the only conversation we want to have.

“This is about taking a pay system that is 12-15 years old and updating it and reforming it. I don’t think that is an unreasonable conversation for us or the unions to want to have,” he added.

Mr Mortimer rejected the suggestion employers had failed to properly implement past deals, arguing it was often due to a failure to achieve agreement locally between trusts and trade unions.

On pay increments for Agenda for Change staff, one of the main targets of the government’s dispute with unions, Mr Mortimer hinted that he was confident there was room for discussion on the issue.

“The idea that we aren’t able to have a mature conversation about how increments can be changed or made part of the pay deal isn’t consistent with what’s happened over the years,” he said.

Mr Mortimer also used the interview to highlight concerns over what he called “the perception of fairness” in widening differences between doctors and the more than one million NHS staff covered by Agenda for Change.

As part of the new pay deal, it was agreed to cap the maximum amount of salary used to calculate redundancy at £80,000 with a minimum floor of £23,000 to help the lower paid.

As a result, employers can also no longer make “top-up” payments for those made redundant over the age of 50 and who choose to retire early.

However, the British Medical Association said the cap does not apply to its members, as doctors were not covered by Agenda for Change.

Mr Mortimer said: “Employers aren’t happy that doctors are in a different place in terms of cost of living and redundancy than other staff. The largest group of highest paid staff have the most generous redundancy entitlements.”

He also noted that doctors were continuing to receive pay rises and increment progression, while Agenda for Change unions had agreed to concessions.

Mr Mortimer, who recently joined NHS Employers from Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, said: “It’s about some equality of approach across the workforce.”

  • 35 Comments

Readers' comments (35)

  • HCSW

    So, instead of contracted x1.33, jobs will go to the agencies for more than x2.0

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  • reform means the same as change, in other words it will mean we get paid less for working longer hours, get les holidays, less pension and no sick

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  • It begins again... I do not see there being a set of management side proposals which do anything other than reduce the net earnings of staff who have to work these hours. However, there are no signs that a parallel commitment is likely to be made to ensure childcare is available across 7 days and unsocial hours without increased cost to NHS staff. How unattractive do they want to make healthcare work?

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  • Nursing staff are the backbone of the NHS, they are the glue that is keeping it from crumbling altogether. So what is the message to those young people who choose to take on this very difficult profession, while their peers may be undertaking similar length and level training, yet earning much more for a good deal less responsibility? Well it appears to be - lets pay them less, still make them work bank holidays, evenings and nights, but don't pay them anymore for doing so -after all who wants a social life? Yes that will definitely work!!!!

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  • Changes to unsocial hours pay will see staff refusing to work extra shift and a marked increase in the need for agency work to do these shift where I am sure the agencies will still charge extra for them. This is short sighted penny pinching antics from fat cat bosses and MPs.

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  • 2742 days till I get my state pension...if they drop unsocial hours pay. I'm off straight away.I don't care how poor I'll be. I'm not doing nights and weekends for nothing extra. I'm sick and tired of being treated badly reading pay & working conditions. I'll find a job with a lot less stress than nursing

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  • Another way for the government to brow beat us to the extent that we will accept privatisation just so we can earn a decent living wage.

    I've already seen many of my colleagues joining agencies and doing shifts part time at other hospitals rather than cover overtime in our own hospital. And when you can earn nearly double for the same hours who can blame them.

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  • The lunatics really have taken over the asylum. OK so if they cut our unsocial hours payments we won't work extra hours for free, we won't work through our breaks etc etc. They can't have it both ways. And how the heck do they think they are going to attract anyone into nursing if they do cut the unsocial hours payments?!

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  • 20 more pay days before I retire, not that l'm counting!!!!!!!

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  • When Labour introduced its Agenda for Change grading and pay system it was always the intention to remove enhanced payments for staff - that's why there was an uplift in everyone's basic pay.

    As someone who voted to reject AfC and to retain the Whitley Council I was in the minority- as most of my colleagues were too focused on what they were going to spend their extra money and backdated pay on to see AfC what it really is - but we are where we are.

    Like most people reading this, the amount of Sh!t and stress that one has to put up with seems to increase as each day passes and if enhancements do go, then so do I as I'm not prepared to work without proper recompense - and that's what enhanced payments are: compensation for wrecking your body and social life brought about by working nights/weekends.

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  • How much more do they want to do to a profession that already feels demoralised and un respected?
    It's an absolute disgrace!
    I would never go back to work in the NHS, but have to say where I work mirror what the NHS do, and I am already under paid for the skills and qualifications that I have.
    Immigration is sounding more and more favourable all of the time.......
    How sad is that though.

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  • Until someone successfully sues for illness related to having to work nights then this will happen....personally since working nights some years ago I've rarely been able to get a decent nights sleep and have ended up with acid reflux and other gastro intestinal issues as have several colleagues.

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  • Take away unsocial hours payments...result..staff leaving in droves

    Then trusts having to employ agency staff..at a higher cost!!!

    Am I missing something here??

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  • I can see the disincentive in reducing unsocial hours payments, but taking a look at the bigger picture lets look at what they are about.

    When they came about, we had a 9-5 Monday to Friday society where there was half day closing on Wednesdays and Saturdays for some shops and pubs were barely open on a Sunday at all.

    Nowadays we have a virtually 24/7 society with so many media and entertainment recording facilities etc, that shiftwork is not the bar to socialising as it was.

    For the record I used to think I relied on unsocial hours payments - and nights in particular, but when I moved into a 9-5 post I didn't miss it nearly as much as I though I would. [/Devil's Advocate]

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  • Anonymous | 24-Mar-2015 10:38 am

    You raise some valid points and you're right that we now inhabit a 24/7 world unrecognisable from 20 years ago, but most peoples working day is still during daylight hours.

    Now I know virtually all staff are employed on internal rotation contracts and many don't mind working more than their fair share of weekends or nights because of these unsocial payments, but watch all of that change if/when these payments cease - it'll be pandemonium on the wards.

    Those of us who aren't time-served management sycophants or friends of friends or who have absolutely no interest at all in ascending the greasy pole then unsocial payments make up a large chunk of our wages. If the money goes then so does the incentive to put up with the ever increasing amounts of nonsense emanating from our leaders.

    Secretly, I hope this does happen as it would be the push many of us need to find a more fulfilling role elsewhere in that big, wide world.

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  • cant imagine this guy getting paid less, I guess he would agree to paying nurses less, to not pay them extra to work a bank holiday so he can put his nose deeper in the trough

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  • it is interesting how many blue uniforms appear on my ITU on a bank holiday!!!!

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  • "Those of us who aren't time-served management sycophants or friends of friends or who have absolutely no interest at all in ascending the greasy pole then unsocial payments make up a large chunk of our wages. If the money goes then so does the incentive to put up with the ever increasing amounts of nonsense emanating from our leaders."

    This made me laugh, but oh so true!

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  • Anonymous | 24-Mar-2015 4:50 am
    You say you want proper recompense for working unsocial hours. We've never had it. Unless times have changed since before I started nursing standard rate for working overtime is time and a half on a Saturday or nights and double time for Sundays and Bank holidays. Christmas is usually triple time. Ah well I retire in 6 days.

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  • Supermarket staff get paid extra for unsocial hours

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  • Anonymous | 24-Mar-2015 6:18 pm

    are you saying because you never had it others should be denied it as well?

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  • Laha78

    ARGH!!!!!!
    Have these idiots who make all our decisions even done a shift on the wards!!!!
    The only reason I work nightshift is for the extra money and the way it makes me feel physically and mentally, we all bloody deserve it!!

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  • Changes to unsocial hours pay will see staff refusing to work extra shift and a marked increase in the need for agency work to do these shift where I am sure the agencies will still charge extra for them. This is short sighted penny pinching antics from fat cat bosses and MPs.

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  • That mutton chops, pen pushing bureaucrat has a half smirk on his face because, looking beyond the bitching and moaning, we'll inevitably take this as we always do. Of course, it will come with a mild concession (pre planned), which will be extolled by unions as a win.
    By the time the subsequent quarter's agency bills come in it individual Trusts, this psychopath will be long gone into another post, having left with a big fat bonus, while individual the others will be left scratching their heads.

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  • Sorry for errors. #to, not #it and #while the others, not #while individual.

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  • Is this all part of the governments master plan ? Cameron has said that he wants the NHS to be a 365 days a year 24/7 organisation virtually across the board. To do that with unsocial hours payments would cost billions so the only way to do it is get rid of them.

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  • Anon 25/03/15 10:07pm

    Rather than just sacking people, they're looking at ways of reducing the wage bill and retaining staff. Personally, I'd just sack people and I'd start with Modern Matrons and work up.

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  • 'Modern Matrons' for crying out loud!
    why not add 'modern nurses', 'modern doctors', 'modern managers' 'modern patients' and 'modern all the rest' and get rid of all the 'old-fashioned' thinkers as above! :-) maybe then the NHS would be 'modern' and function in a 'modern' way!

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  • Anonymous | 26-Mar-2015 7:20 am

    The Modern Matron was the Labour interpretation of the 'throwing a 'specialist nurse' at a problem in order to be seen to be addressing that problem' ethos. They're an added layer of management that im sure could be replaced by employing decent ward/department Sisters. We managed quite well before their inception.

    If the choice is bands 1-5 retaining their enhancements or Modern Matrons then I know what I'd choose.

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  • Anonymous | 26-Mar-2015 7:20 am ...Couldn't agree more..keep the real workers on unsocial hours pay and get rid of the rest of them

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  • Okay folks lets think about this.

    If enhanced payments are stopped, do you not think your contracts will have a clause saying that you work unsocial hours or will not be employed.

    ( Sunday trading came in, promising that people would never be coerced into working on that day, it would be by choice. Oh yeah)

    I have asked friends and acquaintances what the average staff nurse on the ward earns. They have no idea.
    For me, a return to practice nurse ( I went back to the basic pay level) my 1% pay rise is 11.7p per hour before tax, NI and pension.

    As a trained grade 5 nurse with responsibility of always the 'can lose your PIN' hanging over my head, my enhancements are less than the group of untrained people I work with.
    They do a great job, could not work without them, but don't I do a great job too.

    The public hear about our failings. In an Acas publication, they admit that for disciplinary action, 'a doctor has to harm someone, a nurse has to slam a door loudly'.

    That sums up how much protection we have.

    I love the idea of my job. But these are the facts.


    For 365 days of the year, you are subject to working and nights if you work internal rotation.
    You will only know which of those times you have free when the roster is published.

    You can request 5 specific days a month other than annual leave, but don't make any positive plans, because they may not be approved. The needs of the service are paramount.

    If someone works M-F you have 8 regular days a month in which you can plan to travel, look after relatives, meet up with old friends, accept invitations, oh and evenings.

    This most of us are denied.
    Our PIN is subject to justification, not only in our working hours, but also in any given situation outside of that, so if our actions are thought to be unprofessional outside of our place of work, we can still face disciplinary action.

    What I am pointing out is that we as nurses accept this is part of the deal, but I would like to call for the world to know this is how it is.
    I would like to ask any member of the government , what they know about our working conditions, pay levels. They are ill informed and then make decisions out of ignorance.
    This will only lead to heartache and unrest.
    Most of us are only doing this 'vocation' because we see it as worthwhile and needed.

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  • Will you lot stop WHINING!

    Tories now the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

    Easy target, you lot. When your pension terms and conditions were ripped up, you did nothing except moan. Now, you are working longer, paying more in and getting less out. It gave politicians permission to do whatever they wanted to your terms and conditions - after all, politicians are used to folk moaning!

    You will come on here and moan and moan and moan. But do nowt.your salaries, terms and conditions will reduce until they they are worth nowt and a few blokes at the top of the tree are taking home fat cat salaries and oh so pleased with themselves.

    Do something about it or shut up moaning. Nursing is the most powerful staff group in the NHS yet we do nothing except moan. Stop moaning and do something - otherwise we will have no else to blame.

    Having said that, I wrote the same when the pension pot was being mugged and we did bugger all then!

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  • 8 pay days to go never thought i would be wishing my career away when i started 35 yrs ago. its very sad.

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  • Anonymous | 26-Mar-2015 8:58 am

    from Anonymous | 26-Mar-2015 7:20 am


    many thanks for your explanation which throws more light on this strange phenomenon and I agree with your entirely. Nursing would do fine without all of this continual political intervention leading to many quirky inconsistencies. surely there are enough bright nurses and nursing leaders to work the organisation of the profession and their care out for themselves?!

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  • i was in at the beginning of Agenda for change and worked for two years on bandings. the questionnaire and the computer system that worked alongside were supposed to be fail safe and fair. depending on who was inputting it could be swayed to suggest a higher banding.!!! Everyone wanted to be a specialist in their field hoping for a higher band, in fact most came under 'interest in a specialty' no real evidence that they were. you have part time staff on band 7 and 8 what a nonsense. Trusts had the choice at the very beginning to change locally things like unsocial hours etc they were too lazy to put measures into place. whoever had the bright idea to think up Agenda for Change had to know it was going to cost a lot of money , the Whitley Scale though old was fairer especially when you still had Enrolled nurses, now everyone is on band 5. Enrolled nurses are worth every penny but there are still some things they cannot do. What a blunder this scheme was in reality.

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