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Backdated holiday pay for NHS nurses: unions reach money deal over ‘historic error’

Nurses have been out-of-pocket after employers ignored regular overtime in payroll calculations
image of nurse beside money and a clock to show how their holiday pay has been miscalculated

Nurses have been out-of-pocket after NHS employers ignored regular overtime hours in their annual leave payment calculations

NHS nurses whose regular overtime is not reflected in their holiday pay will receive back payment to correct this historic error.

Eligible Agenda for Change (AfC) staff in England will now receive a one-off sum amounting to 16% of any overtime pay received in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years, after unions and employers struck a deal .

Annual leave pay inconsistencies between employers

Health service terms and conditions state holiday pay should be based on what an individual would normally receive, had they been at work. But there has been inconsistency among employers about including regular overtime in these calculations.

Nurses have been out-of-pocket after NHS employers ignored regular overtime hours in their annual leave payment calculations

image of nurse beside money and a clock to show how their holiday pay has been miscalculated
Picture: iStock

NHS nurses whose regular overtime is not reflected in their holiday pay will receive back payment to correct this ‘historic error’.

Eligible Agenda for Change (AfC) staff in England will now receive a one-off sum amounting to 16% of any overtime pay received in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years, after unions and employers struck a deal.

Annual leave pay inconsistencies between employers

Health service terms and conditions state holiday pay should be based on what an individual would normally receive, had they been at work. But there has been inconsistency among employers about including regular overtime in these calculations.

Sara Gorton

NHS Staff Council staff side chair and Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: ‘This corrects an historical error that miscalculated the level of holiday pay for staff who worked regular overtime.’

Staff will receive the payment by the end of September (see box) and negotiations continue about how the changes will be applied from 2021-22.

Overtime is common among nurses in the NHS, with 62,307 (41%) of 152,431 surveyed in the 2020 NHS Staff Survey in England saying they worked additional paid hours.

Am I eligible for this back pay?

  • Am I likely to get any holiday pay back?
    You must be employed by the NHS in England as of 31 March 2021 and have received overtime payments in at least four months in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 financial years
  • What counts as overtime for the purposes of the payment?
    Any paid time above your contractual hours, for example working past the end of your shift, or volunteering for additional shifts agreed in advance as overtime. It does not include working additional hours on an NHS bank shift
  • How much would I receive?
    16% of the overtime pay received in any of the 2019-20 or 2020-21 financial years
  • How do I find out if I am eligible?
    Your employer will notify you


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