Staff most likely to benefit are senior A&E nurses, critical care outreach and senior sisters on special care baby units, and those on hospital at night schemes.
Interim arrangements capped unsocial hours payment calculations at the top of Agenda for Change band 6. This meant nurses in higher bands were receiving unsocial hours payments calculated using senior sisters’ rates.
But new proposals, drawn up by unions and NHS Employers, remove this cap, meaning unsocial hours rates will be based on actual basic pay – excluding recruitment and retention premia and London weighting bonuses.
Unsocial hours pay for staff working in bands 2 and 3 will also change. But those for band 5 and 6 will remain the same – drawing a mixed reaction from nurses.
Mandy Motley, critical care staff nurse at Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said staff on lower bands should receive more money at weekends to reflect the extra responsibility they took on. ‘The wage should reflect the responsibility when there is not support for staff,’ she said. ‘It does currently give an incentive to work but I don’t think it necessarily reflects the amount of responsibility the staff have to take.’
However, Adam McAvery, staff nurse at Central Manchester Healthcare NHS Trust, said: ‘I think the unsocial hours rates are fine for me – I am grateful for the extra pay.’
The so-called 50-50 rule remains – meaning nurses will receive unsocial hours payments for an entire shift if more than half the hours worked are unsocial.
Unison, which will begin balloting members on the proposals this week, has recommended that they should accept the proposals – papers must be returned by 15 February. The RCN and Unite are also running ballots on the proposals, closing on 18 February.
Problems finding a workable scheme that minimises the number of staff taking a pay cut and is affordable for employers, have meant the proposals have been delayed by more than three years since the introduction of the Agenda for Change pay system in October 2004.
Staff at early implementer sites, which were testing out other unsocial hours schemes, will see their rates change according to local agreements until 2011, when they will begin to receive the new rates.
|Pay Band||Satuardays, weekdays 8pm - 6am||Sundays and public holidays (midnight to midnight)|
|1||Time plus 50%||Double time|
|2||Time plus 44%||Time plus 88%|
|3||Time plus 37%||Time plus 74%|
|4-9||Time plus 30 %||Time plus 60%|