A key negotiator in NHS workforce pay has admitted that nurses could be paid varying rates for unsocial hours – a move which threatens to undermine the ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ concept in the Government’s Agenda for Change (AfC) programme.
AfC, which came into effect in December, is designed to create pay harmonisation and equal pay across the NHS.
But NHS Employers’ Organisation deputy director Alastair Henderson, who has represented employers throughout the AfC pay negotiations, said trusts could be told to introduce different rates for different pay bands.
He believes this system may be the only way to give employees incentives to work unsocial shifts, according to Nursing Standard magazine.
Josie Irwin, head of employment relations at the Royal College of Nursing, told the magazine: “If we decided to pay different groups differently it would completely undermine the principle of harmonisation and equal pay.”
Henderson countered: “We are clear we want a system that delivers equal pay for equal value. For example, you could pay different unsocial hours rates for different bands, but what you could not do would be to pay people on the same band different rates.