NHS announces pay protection for staff undertaking apprenticeships

Starting from 1 July 2024, the NHS will protect the pay of staff who take on apprenticeships.  

The new rule, agreed upon by the NHS Staff Council, ensures that employees won’t see a drop in their basic pay while they are learning new skills. 

The new policy guarantees that employees who start an apprenticeship will keep getting the higher of two pay rates: either what they would earn if they stayed in their current job, including any planned pay raises, or the pay rate for new apprentices in the same role. 

Why has the new rule been brought in? 

This change is important for NHS staff thinking about apprenticeships because it removes the worry of losing pay while improving their careers. Employees who agree to start a formal apprenticeship which will qualify them for a job with the same or higher pay band as their current job will benefit from this rule.  

The current plans for the future of the NHS rely on apprenticeships. NHS bosses hope that by 2031, up to 22% of all clinical staff training will come via apprenticeships, up from 7% currently. So, it’s important that people know they will be able to afford the cost of living while they’re taking on work-related training. 

Retroactive payment for underpaid NHS apprentices 

For those already on an apprenticeship scheme with the NHS, if their pay was kept the same when they started, they do not need to do anything. But if their pay was cut when they began their apprenticeship, their pay may be fixed from 1 July 2024, though there will be no back pay for the time before this date. 

What might this mean for apprenticeships outside of the NHS? 

This move is likely to set an example for other businesses outside the NHS. As companies try to attract and keep good workers, similar pay protection plans could become common, helping employees grow in their careers without losing money. This is good for both the workers and the companies, as it creates a more skilled and motivated workforce. 

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