Talks have begun between employers and NHS unions in England on a new pay progression system for staff who join the NHS from April 2019. Both sides committed to negotiate a new pay progression system as part of the three-year NHS pay deal agreed earlier this year.
The new system will not apply to existing staff, for whom current arrangements for progression on incremental dates will continue until the expiry of the pay agreement in April 2021.
Framework for local talks
A sub-group of the NHS Staff Council will meet throughout the autumn to agree on a national framework for the new system, which will be implemented by local NHS employers, together with joint union-employer guidance, FAQs and case studies to support local implementation. The group will also agree guidance and advice on how local appraisal policies will need to develop to work with the new system.
Existing staff will continue to progress on their incremental dates through the three-year pay transition “journeys” set out in the 2018 agreement. But for the estimated 16% of the workforce who have not reached the top of their band by April 2021, further progression will be subject to the terms of the new system.
Existing automatic progression system will continue to operate for existing staff until 2021, but employers will need to use the new progression system for new starters from April next year.
MiP chief executive Jon Restell said MiP would take a full part in the national talks, but would also pay careful attention to how the eventual agreement was implemented at local level.
“MiP and UNISON will be making arrangements for joint review of existing appraisal policy and its implementation,” he said. “Are all staff getting annual appraisals, and is the system working effectively and fairly for staff across different occupational groups and bands?
“It’s an opportunity to ensure that employers understand that there will be a staff council agreement and further guidance in early 2019, which will need to be built into local arrangements,” he added.
Pay on promotion
Meanwhile, NHS Employers have published a number of new FAQs on pay on promotion, following requests from UNISON and MiP. These confirm that the pay on promotion rules still apply, and clarify the position of some recently-promoted staff in bands 1 and 2.
The new guidance addresses the mis-application of the pay on promotion rules by employers, the practice of placing promoted staff at the bottom of pay bands without a pay increase, and the potential for ‘leap-frogging’ involving staff who were promoted from bands 1 and 2 between April and July 2018. The FAQs are available at from the NHS Employers website.