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Nursing staff

Pay, terms and conditions in Independent Health and Social Care employers

This page can be used for advice on starting a conversation between nursing staff and employers about fair pay, terms and conditions.

All nursing staff deserve fair pay, good terms and conditions, career development and a safe working environment no matter where they work.

The RCN believes all Independent Health and Social Care (IHSC) employers need to have a pay system that is competitive with the NHS. While some are based on NHS structures, many are set independently and in some instances pay rates are dictated by commissioners’ budgets. Pay rates are often lower and for health care assistants are usually set at the national minimum wage or a few pence above it. 

A pay claim can be used as a mechanism to facilitate discussions with an employer on the wider aspects of pay and increased benefits in employment terms and conditions. If the matter is shared by a group of nursing staff then a claim should be taken forward collectively. Collective issues are generally more successful when most or all staff are united in a common purpose. Therefore, it’s important to speak to colleagues one by one and as a group to establish key issues and the general strength of feeling. The RCN can help set up a members meeting and in making a pay claim. Contact RCN Direct for more information.

RCN members vote to accept Four Seasons Health Care/brighterkind pay award

Almost three quarters of eligible members who voted chose to accept the offer. Read the full results here.

Preparing for discussions with your employer

Read our 'Eight simple tips' to help you prepare and work with colleagues to approach your employer about improving your pay, terms and conditions.  These tips include downloading and using our editable RCN Request a Pay Rise Template Letter and a simple one page RCN Short Pay Survey, as preparation, before contacting your employer.  You may find it useful to refer to the latest figures on inflation, the National Minimum Wage and  the Living Wage:

Office for National Statistics inflation figures
The National Minimum Wage
The Living Wage 

Further reading

Staffing for Safe and Effective Care: State of the nation’s labour nursing market 2022 

RCN Submission to the NHS Pay Review Body: 2022/23 Pay Round

Joint staff-side union Pay Review Body submission 2022/23

Tell us your story

How are staffing levels and low pay affecting you right now? How is the cost-of-living crisis and the remnants of a global pandemic impacting your work and life? Capture your lived experience with our easy-to-use tool and help tell the true story of UK nursing. 

We're here for you

If you're an RCN member and need help with any aspect of your employment, you can access advice online or contact us direct. We're here to help - wherever you work.


Let's talk about your career

Thinking about progression, promotion or development? Or just curious about your options? Take control of your career today with our dedicated resources:

Accountability and delegation affect all members of the nursing team

Our fight for fair pay in non-NHS settings

The RCN campaigns for all our members to receive fair pay, no matter what setting or sector they’re employed in. 
Nurses protesting fair pay at Westminster