One of the most common things we get asked about as a nursing agency is pay rates...and understandably so. For many people, clarity and transparency about salaries and pay rates is the most important part of their job search. We understand that it can all be a bit overwhelming so we’ve broken down the information you need regarding agency nurse pay rates. If you’d like to know more about how much you could earn in an agency nurse job, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team today and we’ll gladly talk you through our agency nurse pay rates and the current job market. 


NHS Nurse Pay Rates

In the UK, NHS nurse pay rates are calculated as per the NHS pay scale. These rates can also be supplemented depending on your location, with an inner, outer and fringe “London weighting” offered to nurses working in and around the capital. Rate cards set out by the NHS are based on location, speciality (eg: A&E nurse, ITU nurse) and shift type (day, time etc).


Agency Nurse Pay Rates

Typically, agency nurse pay rates are calculated on an hourly basis. As with NHS nurse pay rates, these are based on the setting (such as a hospital, or GP surgery), regional location, shift type and speciality. Higher pay rates are offered for more senior positions such as Senior Staff Nurse. 


Private vs. NHS

Working as an agency nurse, your pay can be affected by whether you’re working for a public or private sector company. NHS agency nurses are paid in accordance with the strict nurse pay rate guidelines set by the NHS, and whereas whilst private nursing jobs are often advertised as paying higher than market rate, private sector businesses can pay whatever they choose. Working within the NHS also offers job security and continuing professional development opportunities. There are a wealth of private and public settings other than hospitals to consider, such as HM Prisons, schools and nursing homes. 


PAYE vs. Limited Company

If you are paid PAYE you are essentially paid as an employee of the agency you choose to secure your agency nurse job through. If you choose to be paid through your own Limited Company (or Personal Service Company), typically the agency nurse pay rate offered will be higher than that of those being paid PAYE. This is to off-set costs such as National Insurance, that you’ll need to pay when you do your tax returns. If your agency nurse assignment falls “inside IR35” and is with a public sector company, they will handle all the administration required. IR35 is the legislation created to ensure people working through a Limited Company or Personal Service Company. If you are in any doubt, speak with your accountant. 


Nurse Pay Rate Escalations 

In some cases, nurses may be offered a high agency nurse pay rate. Working in hard to reach or remote locations can offer command a higher pay rate, as well as specialties that are in high demand - such as if a certain region has a high demand but low supply for A&E nurses for example. Seasonal pressures such as the spike in hospital admissions during winter can also lead to an increase in the nurse pay rates offered by agencies. 


For more information on what you could be earning as an agency nurse, or for details about our agency nurse pay rates, get in touch with a member of our team today.

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