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Health and social care staff in Northern Ireland to receive 3% pay rise

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Health and social staff in Northern Ireland are to receive a 3% pay rise backdated to 1 April 2021, the government has announced.

The reward, which was recommended by the NHS Pay Review Body, represents an estimated increase of approximately £88.24m on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay bill.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I want to once again place on record my gratitude and admiration to all who work in our health and social care system. So many staff have worked extremely long hours under enormous pressure during the pandemic. Staff are the backbone of our health and social care services and I want to recognise their continued professionalism in delivering high-quality effective care to people across Northern Ireland.”

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The minister said the increase was to ensure that pay parity with England was maintained and would be progressed “as quickly as possible”.

The Department and trade unions have also been in discussions about possible enhancements to the pay award for 2021/22.

Mr Swann said: “While the Department’s budget this year remains under considerable financial pressure, I wish to further recognise the hard work and dedication of AfC staff during 21/22, and subject to the Department’s wider budget position easing, I am willing to prioritise a bid, as part of January monitoring, for additional resource to support a further non-consolidated award for most AfC staff in 2021/22.”

The minister said any additional award would need to be approved by the Department of Finance.

The 3% pay increase is in addition to the HSC Special Recognition Payment which was announced early in the year. The one off payment of up to £735 acknowledged the efforts made by staff across the HSC workforce during the pandemic.

In addition, the Health Minister has committed to holding a high-level joint summit with the trade unions and employers to look at key issues of pay and retention, early in the New Year.  This summit will be used to identify the government’s collective priorities ahead of detailed engagement on a 2022/23 pay award.

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