NHS Scotland staff are to be offered a pay rise of at least 4%, with those in the lowest pay bands to receive a 5.4% uplift.
The pay rise will be applied to staff on Agenda for Change contracts, which covers most NHS staff excluding doctors, dentists and most senior managers.
Equivalent staff in England expect to see only a 1% pay increase, which the UK government has maintained is all it can afford.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Our NHS staff deserve more than applause and 1% is not enough.
“[The Scottish government] is offering a 4% pay rise, which would deliver guaranteed minimum increase of £1,000 for those earning less than £25,000 & 5.4% increase for staff on lowest pay band…and all backdated to December 2020.”
If accepted by unions, the pay increase will benefit around 145,000 employees, including paramedics, nurses, allied health professionals, porters and other frontline health workers.
Those on higher pay scales will receive uplifts of £800, but the average NHS nurse will see their pay increase by more than £1,200 a year.
Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Following positive discussions with NHS unions and employees the Scottish Government has put forward an offer of the biggest single pay uplift since devolution for NHS Agenda for Change staff.
“This has been an exceptionally challenging year for our health service and I am pleased that the Scottish Government is able to recognise the service and dedication of our healthcare staff.”
The UK government has been heavily criticised after proposing a pay increase of only 1% for NHS England staff.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has said staff were expecting a 2.1% increase under a five-year deal agreed with Theresa May in 2018.
Analysis by London Economics shows that years of austerity means that one million NHS England staff on Agenda for Change contracts have seen their salaries fall by up to 32% in real terms over the past decade.
Dr Gavan Conlon, a partner at the think tank, said: “Any suggestion that nursing staff’s salaries have increased in recent years is inaccurate – they haven’t.
“Salaries in none of the Agenda for Change pay spine-points increased over the last 10 years once inflation is factored in.
“On paper, people’s salaries may have gone up in cash terms, but the reality is that their pay buys them less than it did a decade ago.”
Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, which is pushing for a 12.5% pay increase for NHS workers, said: “This new analysis shows the devastating real-term cuts to NHS salaries over the past decade. Years of austerity have left nursing staff badly underpaid.
“The nation has seen the very best of nursing in the past year – the skill, dedication and professionalism involved. The government cannot possibly stand by this insulting 1% offer.”
MPs discussed the proposed NHS England pay rise in Parliament on Wednesday. Labour MP Paula Barker said: “The public overwhelmingly support a pay rise for NHS staff. Because they, like me, understand and appreciate their service each and every day. In times long before Covid-19, and long after.
“If any group of workers in our National Health Service collectively decide enough is enough and they embark on a course of industrial action, they will have unwavering solidarity.
“I appeal to this government today, change your course. Walk the walk on NHS pay and give them the pay rise that they so deeply deserve.”