Department sets out proposals on HSC pay deal

Date published: 22 November 2018

The Department of Health has today made a formal offer to trade unions, ahead of a planned meeting next week, in respect of a pay deal for health and social care staff for 2018-19.

hsc pay update

The offer is based on applying this year’s English NHS pay settlement to current pay rates in Northern Ireland, and would represent an estimated 3% increase (or just over £60 million) on the pay  bill for staff on Agenda for Change terms and conditions.

Key elements of the package, which would be backdated to 1 April 2018, are:

  • A minimum rate of pay to be set at £16,943 – an increase of up to 15.5% for some of the lowest paid employees - equating to an hourly rate of £8.67. 
  • A 3% increase to the top point of most Bands.
  • An increase to starting salaries across all bands – for example, the entry point for newly qualified nurses would increase by 4% to £22,795.

The offer has been made possible following the setting of a NI public sector pay policy by the Department of Finance (DoF) today, however formal DoF approval to the full package will be needed.

Department of Health Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly today said: “Our health and social care system depends on the dedication and expertise of staff, particularly during these times of unprecedented pressure on services.

“I am delighted to be able to reach this point. The Department, alongside our colleagues in the Department of Finance, has worked hard to make this possible, and I am very grateful to staff across the sector, and our trade union colleagues, for their forbearance while we were doing so.”

The proposals would offer around 70% of staff a 3% or more uplift to current pay scales. In addition, eligible staff will receive incremental pay progression - increases that move them towards the top of their pay bands.

The Department is aiming for the increases to be in pay packets in the new year.

Mr Pengelly added: “In common with many other parts of the public sector, health and social care services are facing intense budgetary pressure.

“Nevertheless, a pay settlement that recognises and rewards our hard-working staff has been an important priority, reflecting our determination to build a sustainable workforce.

“The Department remains committed to Agenda for Change as the UK-wide framework, and to working in partnership with trade unions on efforts to refresh Agenda for Change for future consideration.”

The Department is also in the process of considering doctors’ and dentists’ pay awards for 2018/19.

Notes to editors: 

  1. For media queries please contact the Department of Health Press Office team on 028 9052 0575 or email For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
  2. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt

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