A Guide to Nursing Agency Pay Rates and Payments

Nursing Agency

Being an agency nurse is highly lucrative, and the remunerations of such professionals are witnessing significant growth. If you are considering becoming an agency nurse, it is wiser to consider the pay rates and structure of different nurse bands within the UK. Here, we are sharing all the information you need to understand the pay rates of the nursing agency.

What is Pay Rate?

The core structure of the pay rate is based on the band or grade of the nurses and what time of the day or week their shifts begin. In addition to this, there are other factors as well that determine the nursing agency pay rates. The pay rate of nurses associated with working agency varies within the NHS and depends on whether the agency is on the NHS framework or off-framework.

What are the Factors that Determine the Agency Nursing Pay Rates?

The pay rate of agency nurses is determined based on different facets including-

Nurses’ Client

NHS, private hospitals, nursing homes, etc. are the typical clients that hire agency nurses. While some of these agencies work within the NHS framework, others operate privately. The pay rate differs depending on the client type, and there is no exact module to determine which one pays more.

Nurses Specialty and Shift

An agency nurse is paid on an hourly basis, depending on their specialty, work setting, and type of shift. Nurses working in general medical and surgical settings are paid the same rate. But the nurses that work in specialized areas Alike ITU, A&E, mental health settings are paid higher in the NHS. With vital medical certifications such as ACLS, for instance, that you can now acquire online, chances of stepping up the career ladder become much higher.

The nurses who work on practitioner roles, including Advanced Nurse Practitioners and Emergency Nurse Practitioners, are paid more than the other two as they work in higher positions. Nurses’ pay rates are further broken down by the shift they choose (weekdays, weekends, weeknights, etc.) and holidays.

NHS Framework

Not all nurse agencies adhere to a single pay structure when it comes to determining the pay rates. The agencies that follow the NHS framework pay their nurses differently than the ones that are non-framework agencies.

A framework includes a list of approved suppliers who have been assessed and audited by NHS to offer assurance to clients that they can provide high-quality services at competitive rates. The framework differs in various parts of the country, and each has their own pay rates. Non-framework agencies, on the other hand, are not restricted by any agreements or capped rates.

Type of Payment

The nurses paid through a personal service company are quoted a higher pay rate as opposed to the nurses who are paid through a PAYE system. This is done to compensate for the fact the nurses have to take care of their taxes and compliance with the IR-35 legislation. Under PAYE, the tax is deducted from weekly salary, and the amount is calculated based on the nurse’s national insurance and tax code categories.

Pay Caps and Escalated Rates

NHS Improvement introduced pay rate caps in the year 2015 with an aim to reduce the money the NHS invest in hiring agency staff. Though the aim was to encourage nurses to come back to working on substantive posts, the nurses increasingly began leaving NHS centers, and that forced the trusts to breach pay caps by extending rate escalations.

In order to reduce the employment gap in hospitals, NHS trusts began leveraging the break glass provision to increase the pay rates of nursing agencies. So, NHS hospitals can hire nursing agencies with higher pay rates for a certain specialty, setting, or shift.

Rolled-Up Holiday Pay

Certain nursing agencies increase their pay rates by including holiday pay. This practice is referred to as rolled-up holiday pay, which is against the rules of the European Court of Justice. The government suggests that holiday pay should be paid to the nurses for the time when they take their annual leaves.

Nursing Agency Tax Rates and Bands

The tax amount of agency nurses depends on their earnings. There are various rates that determine how much money will be retained by the government in the form of tax. These rates are based on the Standard Personal Allowance of £12,500. Nurses who earn more than £12,500 in a financial year must pay taxes.

Below is the tax band for nurses working in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Band Taxable Income Tax Rate
Personal Allowance  Up to £12,500 0%
Basic Rate £12,501 to £50,000 20%
Higher Rate £50,001 to £150,000 40%
Additional Rate Over £150,000 45%

If you live or work in Scotland, your tax band will be as follows –

Band Taxable Income Tax Rate
Personal Allowance Up to £12,500 0%
Starter Rate £12,501 to £14, 585 19%
Basic Rate £14,586 to £25, 158 20%
Intermediate Rate £25,159 to £43,430 21%
Higher Rate £43,431 to £150,000 21%
Top Rate Over £150,000 46%

We have shared all the vital information you would need to understand the nursing agency’s pay rates.

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