Before joining this industry, you must understand the pay structure and grades for every band of nurses in the UK. It helps to set your expectations from the job and ensure career satisfaction as well. Here is a guide to help you through.
What Are the Agency Nursing Pay Rates in the UK?
If you work within the NHS framework, your pay rates will be determined by the shifts and payment systems that your agency follows. Each framework under NHS has different rates for every band, speciality, and shift. The best paid nursing agency in the UK can provide complete details along with competitive salaries for every band and speciality.
The frameworks also recommend adherence to the NHS Improvement price caps, and rate escalations that allow agencies to juggle different pay cards. With the New Pay Deal of 2018, a new process started to increase the salaries of nurses by a minimum of 6.5% every year for three corresponding years. This incremental increase in salaries is a positive sign for aspiring nurses to make a rewarding career as an agency nurse.
Factors that Determine Nursing Agency Pay Rates in the UK
When an agency nurse starts their career, the first and foremost concern is the pay scale they are offered. Their pay rates are quite impressive for this demanding career. But, they also vary due to several factors.
From pay caps to agency-type and mode of payments, there are many things to keep in mind. Here, they are:
1. Shift and Speciality
Agency nurses are usually paid according to the shifts they complete in a week. There is an hourly rate for calculating salaries. Every speciality and shift-type has a different hourly rate. Nurses in highly stressful departments like ITU, A&E, children’s ward, gerontological, and mental health are paid at a much higher rate than general, theatre, or other surgical settings.
Furthermore, hourly rates are higher if you prefer working on weekends and holidays. In some instances, you may even earn more if you agree to work shifts in a remote location.
2. Compliance to NHS Framework
The NHS framework approves nursing agencies that can provide high-quality staff at competitive rates. NHS carefully selects them from every region of the UK. The framework agencies are required to follow agreements and Improvement pay caps as well.
Choose the best paid nursing agency in the UK that works under the gambit of Health Trust Europe. They supply experienced nurses across the regions and specialities.
3. Limited Company or PAYE Group
The payroll group of the nursing agency also determines the pay rates of the nurses. For example, PAYE is the tax deducted from your weekly salary. This amount is calculated according to your National Insurance and tax code categories. On the other hand, if you work through a limited company, you have to manage your taxes and compliance with IR-35 legislation.
4. Statutory Rates of Pay
Many nurses are often concerned if their salaries will be affected by statutory pay rates. There are apprehensions about sick pay or maternity pay in this structure. Most of the reputed nursing agencies allow these entitlements if the nurses meet some required criteria.
For sick pay, they should work via MPP for at least eight weeks while the time limit is 26 weeks for maternity pay, adoption pay, and paternity pay. Here, you should also provide a valid doctor's certificate stating the reason for the leave.
5. Pay Caps and Rate Escalation
NHS Improvement recommended pay caps on agency staff salaries in 2015. This rule had mixed reactions and responses. Due to the limit on the hourly rates for every speciality or shifts, some nurses started leaving NHS hospitals.
It created gaps in employment in hospitals. That's where NHS trusts started using break glass provision to escalate the pay rates for nursing agencies. These price escalations can temporarily exceed the price caps for a specific speciality, shift, or setting.
6. Taxes on Agency Nursing Pay Rates
As discussed above, tax payments for agency nurses depend on the type of payroll group. For example, in PAYE or pay, as you earn, the tax is deducted by the agency.
However, a limited company requires you to manage your taxes yourself. The amount of tax depends on the overall wages over the year. There is a standard allowance of £9440, but if you earn more than this, you have to pay your taxes.
You will get a form P60 from your nursing agency for filing the annual income tax returns as per the BR Tax Code.
Before you venture into the field of agency nursing, understanding these factors will help you to set your expectations from the job.