Section 5: Recruitment and retention premia

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5.1 A recruitment and retention premium is an addition to the pay of an individual post or specific group of posts where market pressures would otherwise prevent the employer from being able to recruit staff to and retain staff in, sufficient numbers for the posts concerned, at the normal salary for a job of that weight.

5.2 Subject to the provisions below, NHS employers may apply a recruitment and retention premium to posts of a specific class or type. Premiums may also be applied to individual posts where the post is unique within the organisation concerned (such as the head of a department or service).

5.3 Recruitment and retention premia may also be awarded on a national basis to particular groups of staff on the recommendation of the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) where there are national recruitment and retention pressures. The Review Body must seek evidence or advice from NHS employers, staff organisations and other stakeholders in considering the case for any such payments. Where it is agreed that a recruitment and retention payment is necessary for a particular group, the level of payment should be specified or, where the underlying problem is considered to vary across the country, guidance should be given to employers on the appropriate level of payment.

5.4 Recruitment and retention premia will be supplementary payments over and above the pay that post holders receive by virtue of their position on their pay band, any high cost area supplements, or any payments for unsocial hours or on-call cover.

5.5 Recruitment and retention premia will apply to posts. Where an employee moves to a different post that does not attract a recruitment and retention premium, either within the same organisation or elsewhere in the NHS, their entitlement to any previous recruitment and retention premium will cease.

5.6 NHS employers and staff representatives, in partnership, will follow the procedure set out in Annex 10 in deciding the award of a recruitment and retention premium.

Long-term and short-term recruitment and retention premia

5.7 The body responsible for awarding a recruitment and retention premium shall determine whether to award a long-term or short-term premium.

5.8 Short-term recruitment and retention premia will apply where the labour market conditions giving rise to recruitment and retention problems are expected to be short-term and where the need for the premium is expected to disappear or reduce in the foreseeable future.

5.9 Long-term recruitment and retention premia will apply where the relevant labour market conditions are more deep-rooted and the need for the premium is not expected to vary significantly in the foreseeable future.

5.10 Short-term recruitment and retention premia:

  • may be awarded on a one-off basis or for a fixed-term;
  • will be regularly reviewed;
  • may be withdrawn or have the value adjusted, subject to a notice period of six months; and
  • will not be pensionable or count for purposes of overtime, unsocial hours payments or any other payments linked to basic pay.
5.11 Long-term recruitment and retention premia:

  • will be awarded on a long-term basis;
  • will have their values regularly reviewed;
  • may be awarded to new staff at a different value to that which applies to existing staff; and
  • will be pensionable, and will count for the purposes of overtime, unsocial hours payments and any other payments linked to basic pay.

5.12 Both long-term and short-term recruitment and retention premia will be expressed as cash sums and will be separately identifiable from basic pay, any high cost area supplement and any other component of pay.

5.13 The combined value of any nationally awarded and any locally awarded recruitment and retention premium for a given post shall not normally exceed 30 per cent of basic salary. It will be the responsibility of employers to ensure that any premia awarded locally do not normally result in payments in excess of this amount, taking into account any national awards for the posts in question. See also the provisions concerning earned autonomy in Annex 11.

Pay circular (AforC) 3/2011: amendment number 24

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