Last reviewed 1 June 2020

Following an agreement reached between health unions and NHS employers, health workers across England should now be paid properly for every hour they are at work during the pandemic.

This is the view of the public service union, UNISON, which had argued that, since March, staff have been treating and caring for patients, and keeping the NHS running under immense pressure, but often not getting paid for all this work.

A group of 15 unions representing staff working in English NHS trusts — including UNISON, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) — have agreed an overtime template with employers.

This will now be used locally to ensure health workers across England get all the pay they are due.

UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said that people who have been clapping on their doorsteps, drives and balconies to show their support and appreciation will be pleased that health staff should soon be going home with more money in their pockets.

However, she went on, “securing overtime pay for all is just the start. Health workers and the public will expect ministers to remember the applause long after the clapping has stopped — and especially when they sit down with unions and employers later in the summer to agree the next NHS pay rise.”

While in more normal times, Ms Gorton noted, NHS staff frequently work beyond their shifts, sometimes without payment or on reduced bank hourly rates, unions were determined this situation should not continue into the pandemic.

Ensuring proper payment for every hour worked for all NHS staff — including those on higher grades not usually able to claim overtime — was contained in a nine-point Blueprint for Return published by the health unions and available at