Unsocial hours payments

Find out about unsocial hours payments, including who they apply to and the rates of pay.

7 January 2022

Unsocial hours payments are additions to basic pay. These apply for staff whose work in standard hours, within the normal 37.5 hour working week (section 10), is undertaken at the times, and on the days, specified in the national agreement and shown in the table below.  

The times and the rates of payment are: 

Pay band

All time on Saturday (midnight to midnight) and any week day after 8pm and before 6am

All time on Sundays and Public Holidays (midnight to midnight)


Time plus 47%

Time plus 94%


Time plus 41%

Time plus 83%


Time plus 35%

Time plus 69%

4 – 9

Time plus 30%

Time plus 60%

  • Unsocial hours payments are worked out using basic salary including long-term recruitment and retention premiums (RRPs), but excluding short-term RRPs, high cost area supplements, and all other supplements and payments.
  • When more than half of a shift on a weekday, which is not a public holiday, falls within the times shown in column 2, the whole of that shift will qualify for unsocial hours payment.
  • This system of payment may be used to pay for unsocial hours worked in the previous month (retrospectively) when shifts and payments vary from month to month or, when shifts are fixed, prospectively, so that a fixed level of payment is made each month based on a forecast of the number of unsocial hours which will be worked in future months.
  • If the system is used prospectively there will need to be periodic checks to compare the level of payments with those produced by the system in its retrospective form.  This is to ensure that the levels of payment are broadly similar overall.

If you are an employee, please speak to your local HR team or your staff side representative.

If you are an employer and have any queries, please email

Frequently asked questions

What will happen if I am promoted to a pay band with a lower percentage premium?

To ensure employees do not face a financial detriment where their working pattern remains substantially the same in their new role, paragraphs 1.18 to 1.20 (Section 1, England) of the NHS TCS would apply. If the new starting salary does not produce an increase in earnings, then previous salary (basic pay plus any applicable unsocial hours payment and/or long-term RRP) will be maintained until the combination of basic pay, any unsocial hours payment and/or RRP in the new band does produce a higher salary. Please see webpage on Pay on Promotion scenarios and FAQ's. 

What will I get when I am on annual leave?

Your pay will be calculated on the basis of what you would have received had you been at work.

Will my long-term recruitment and retention premium be included in my basic pay for calculating my unsocial hours payments?


Will my high cost area allowance be included in my basic pay for calculating my unsocial hours payments?


What will happen if I do overtime in unsocial hours?

You will receive overtime pay at time plus one half or double time if it is work on a general public holiday.

My shifts change a lot.  How will this affect my unsocial hours earnings?

The system is retrospective and payments will be made for each hour worked.  Every hour or part of an hour which you work after 8 pm and before 6 am will be paid at time plus the appropriate percentage.

Will on-call, standby and sleeping-in payments be part of these provisions?