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Blow for senior nurses as pay rise anomaly leaves many worse off

Delayed pay award will push some nurses into a different pension bracket, meaning they owe hundreds in backdated contributions
Image of a pound symbol next to a line of columns that become shorter as an arrow above them points down

Delayed pay award will push some nurses into a different pension bracket, meaning they owe hundreds in backdated contributions

Many senior nurses will be hundreds of pounds worse off this month despite receiving a pay rise – because of an increase in pension contributions.

The situation has been described as a ‘kick in the teeth’ for those who will see a substantial drop in September’s take-home pay amid the current cost-of-living crisis.

Most nursing staff in England and Wales will see an increase in earnings when the delayed 2022-23 pay award lands in September pay packets. But the rise of at least £1,400 will push some – mainly those in higher bands – into a higher

Delayed pay award will push some nurses into a different pension bracket, meaning they owe hundreds in backdated contributions

Image of a pound symbol next to a line of columns that become shorter as an arrow above them points down
Image: iStock

Many senior nurses will be hundreds of pounds worse off this month despite receiving a pay rise – because of an increase in pension contributions.

The situation has been described as a ‘kick in the teeth’ for those who will see a substantial drop in September’s take-home pay amid the current cost-of-living crisis.

Most nursing staff in England and Wales will see an increase in earnings when the delayed 2022-23 pay award lands in September pay packets. But the rise of at least £1,400 will push some – mainly those in higher bands – into a higher pension contribution bracket, meaning they owe hundreds in backdated payments.

Angry nurses on social media slam deductions as an ‘utter disgrace’ and a ‘kick in the teeth’

Some will see their pay award for the five months from April totally wiped out while others will see a substantial drop in pay.

Nurses at the bottom of the Band 8a Agenda for Change pay scale – who will see their annual pensionable pay increase to £48,526 in 2022-23 – will be among those worst affected. Their pension contribution rates will increase from 9.3% to 12.5%, meaning they could owe £647 in backdated payments.

Some nurses have already been told their September pay will be as much as £200 less. Nurses shared their anger on social media, describing the situation as an ‘utter disgrace’ and a ‘kick in the teeth’.

RCN national officer team leader Chris Musgrave said: ‘This will be an unexpected financial hit for some of our hard-working members at a time when they can least afford it.

‘The result is that the already inadequate pay award will be eroded even further by additional backdated pension contributions.’

The default position is for backdated pension payments to be taken from September pay packets as a lump sum. However, the RCN is urging employers to step in to help those who may find themselves in financial difficulty as a result.

Some trusts are offering bridging loans to cover the shortfall and allowing nurses to pay the sum back in instalments. But Mr Musgrave fears some employers could be deterred by the additional admin involved.

Changes to NHS pensions in October will mean an increase in pension contributions for many full-time staff

Changes to NHS pensions are due to come into force in October, including measures to prevent part-time and top earning nurses being tipped into a higher pension contribution bracket due to national pay increases – although not all will be protected.

The changes will lead to an increase in pension contributions for many full-time staff.

Mr Musgrave said: ‘Some people will be paying more, so it might be that some members don’t get a shock in September but do get a shock in October. Some members will get a double shock.’

The Department of Health and Social Care has been approached for comment.


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