Social workers to get £1,925 pay rise

Increase for 2022-23, which will be backdated to 1 April, will be worth between 4% and 6.6% for council social workers in England and Wales, the biggest cash rise in over a decade

An illlustration of a salary rise
Photo: Cagkan/Adobe Stock

How satisfied are you with this year's local government pay deal?

  • Very dissatisfied (30%, 178 Votes)
  • Quite satisfied (22%, 134 Votes)
  • Quite dissatisfied (21%, 128 Votes)
  • Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied (16%, 96 Votes)
  • Very satisfied (10%, 62 Votes)

Total Voters: 598

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Council social workers in England and Wales will get a £1,925 pay rise this year, after unions agreed to employers’ offer.

The increase, which will be backdated to 1 April 2022, is worth 4.04% to 6.6% for social workers, and represents the largest rise in pay for council staff in over a decade. It applies to staff earning up to £47,665 a year and includes all employees in adults’ and children’s services in authorities covered by the National Joint Council for local government services agreement.

However, it will still represent a real-terms pay cut, with the annual rate of inflation – according to the government’s preferred measure – having been 9% or above since April.

Members of the biggest union, UNISON, which has an estimated 40,000 social worker members, backed the offer, as did those from the GMB, in consultative ballots. Unite members rejected it, but the three unions met today and decided collectively to accept the offer, which also applies to council staff in Northern Ireland.

The deal also includes an extra day’s annual leave, from 1 April, 2023, and a 4.04% rise in allowances, including the standby allowance for emergency duty team social workers, which will rise from £30.35 to £31.58 per session, backdated to April 2022.

Staff ‘must get money as soon as possible’

UNISON national secretary for local government Mike Short said: “UNISON members voted clearly to accept this pay offer, and it will come as a welcome relief to many of our members – particularly those who are lower-paid – that it has been agreed before the holiday period.

“Our immediate priority, now, is to get the money into the pay packets of workers as soon as possible, to help deal with the rapidly rising cost of living and move into the next pay round.

“We know there is much more to do, as this pay settlement is still below inflation and we will be looking to submit a pay claim for 2023 as soon as practically possible, so the employers have no excuse for delaying making an offer, next year.

“We will be expecting that offer to meet our members’ needs and address the massive pressure they are facing due to the rate of inflation.”

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81 Responses to Social workers to get £1,925 pay rise

  1. Georgie November 1, 2022 at 4:53 pm #

    Would this apply to agency social worker rates too? Employers NICs are extortionate I don’t know how I’m supposed to afford my rent.

    • Stuart November 2, 2022 at 9:34 am #

      Given that agency workers negotiate their pay individually and therefore are not part of national pay bargaining the answer is no.

    • Lee November 4, 2022 at 6:18 pm #

      Hi Georgie, I am an Adult Social Care agency worker (not a SW) and I received last year’s pay increase with back dated pay. Would suggest speaking to your agency but if you are under an “umbrella” company (which I am not) this might be different. Good luck

    • Mike November 5, 2022 at 2:59 pm #

      Agency workers are on a very good rate so don’t need a pay increase. Some of you agency workers are on 40 to 50 pounds per hour. A good deal for local authority social workers and should help with retention.

      • Zoe Williams December 1, 2022 at 7:38 am #

        Agency workers don’t get sick pay, occupational sick pay, holiday pay, job security, employment rights, access to training. We pay employers and employees National insurance, a cut to the Umbrella Company and by the time you allow for all of that we are on the same rate as permanent employees.

      • Martin seabourne December 1, 2022 at 9:18 am #

        Yes I agree they are on good money but what you need to understand is that we do not get paid holiday’s. We have no job security. Unlike people who are employed. on Xmas when you sit down for Xmas Dinner and have your time off you get paid. Just like you summer holidays. You get paid when you are away. We do not.We get nothing. You get millage paid for at 45p per mile. So the self employed deserve what they get paid. They take the risk.

  2. DemandRealPayRise November 1, 2022 at 5:09 pm #

    It’s like they waited in another room – as soon as they knew it was all signed and accepted, lumped this out there

  3. Oratorio November 1, 2022 at 5:20 pm #

    Meanwhile Cafcass social workers will undoubtedly get much less, if anything at all…

  4. Sharon thompson November 1, 2022 at 8:15 pm #

    What about the locums as they are the lynch pin in terms of supporting those who are permanent. Locums rates are capped in London.

    • Stuart November 2, 2022 at 9:39 am #

      Just like pay of permanent staff is capped in pay negotiations. Our Unions negotiate our pay and conditions for those emoyed by local authorities. Agency workers are not employed bylcal authorities do sit outside of the process. Asking for parity in this is like asking for a sausage roll in a vegan cafe.

    • Cara November 4, 2022 at 11:56 am #

      Yeah but you still get well over the hourly rate of a LA social worker!

    • kim Richardson November 6, 2022 at 7:42 am #

      Are you actually kidding ??

  5. Ann November 1, 2022 at 8:29 pm #

    Mite be the last we get ?

  6. Wendy November 1, 2022 at 8:30 pm #

    It is great receiving a pay increase, however the last time we received one and it was backdated we received less in our salary due to paying extra tax and pension. I hope it doesn’t impact the same way as its unfair if it does.

  7. Donna Doherty November 1, 2022 at 9:51 pm #

    I think we will be waiting a while in Northern Ireland if ever ?

  8. Anne November 1, 2022 at 10:14 pm #

    What about those who have left the profession or changed local authority. Will they still receive the back dated money from the local authority who employed them during that period

    • DW November 2, 2022 at 10:32 am #

      Yes you do.

  9. TiredSocialWorker November 1, 2022 at 11:31 pm #

    Bit misleading. This rise applies to all council workers. Not just social workers.

    • Mithran Samuel November 2, 2022 at 7:12 am #

      Thanks for your comment. As we don’t tend to be read by staff in other departments or services we focus on the impact on social workers of any decision.

    • Vix November 7, 2022 at 12:12 pm #

      Only in those LAs signed up to NJC. This doesn’t cover all social workers or council workers.

  10. Nelly Finch November 2, 2022 at 11:10 am #

    Does this pay increase apply to all points on the National Joint Council for Local Government Services’ (NJC) pay spine?.

    • Mithran Samuel November 2, 2022 at 12:58 pm #

      Thanks for that. As I understand it, it applies up to spine point 43 (for which the increase amounts to 4.04%).

  11. Helena November 2, 2022 at 12:12 pm #

    How does this work in terms of different local authorities – as obviously some LA’s pay more than others? Also where is this additional funding coming from to pay SWs? Will local authorities be paid additional money from the government to cover these costs?

  12. Sapphire Harris November 2, 2022 at 12:16 pm #

    What about those who are changing LA roles in end November? Will the previous LA backdate pay even though SWs no longer work there?

  13. Mike November 2, 2022 at 2:44 pm #

    Maybe it’s time to review pension provision and bring it in line with the private sector, the cost of local authority pensions needs controlling.

    • Simon Cardy November 4, 2022 at 4:28 pm #

      Whose side are you on Mike? LAPFs took a hamering in 2014. Pensions are wages – deferred wages.

  14. Mo November 2, 2022 at 3:23 pm #

    does this apply to unqualified Social care Workers ?

    • Mithran Samuel November 2, 2022 at 4:48 pm #

      Yes it will apply to all local authority staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, so long as they are covered by the National Joint Council agreement (which some authorities are not). I will amend the article to make that clear.

  15. Dorothy November 2, 2022 at 5:38 pm #

    I’ve been an adult Social worker for over 20 years and at the top of my pay scale. The newly qualified are almost at the same pay grade. It would be nice to have an increase as nurses were given 3% last year and this year.

  16. Elena November 2, 2022 at 6:04 pm #

    When will the payment come?

    • Mithran Samuel November 2, 2022 at 6:07 pm #

      Thanks Elena. I’m not sure – I assume it will be something the unions will want to ensure is in November pay packets but I haven’t seen that confirmed as yet.

      • Pam Phillips November 2, 2022 at 8:14 pm #

        Hope it is I need to get my car fixed after catalytic converter was stolen in works car park, I still have to use it and fuel is costing £25 every 3 days and I am in the office 5 days a week

  17. Elena November 2, 2022 at 6:18 pm #

    I just have seen that the council i work for is covered by National Joint Council.
    I really hope for that amount of money into my account

  18. Departing social worker November 2, 2022 at 6:42 pm #

    If any thing was going to seal my decision to leave social work this is it…. it is time there was a separate pay body for sw as there is for MPs … our wages have in real terms been decreasing since 2008 however MP average wage has nearly doubled. Plus all the other perks they get, like reduced canteen / bar , other incomes.. ‘We are all in this together’… get real…

  19. Jennie November 2, 2022 at 6:57 pm #

    How does this work for those earning just over the cut off (£47k)? I’m in a manager role being paid £48k but this increase will mean senior social workers are now paid more than me! Why are we not entitled for the increase? We are putting in the same hard work and are also being affected by the increased costs of living.

    • julles November 4, 2022 at 8:18 pm #

      Not quite the same as front line workers at the coal face hey?

      • ChrisM November 13, 2022 at 9:26 am #

        Recently, I worked as a MASH Manager for 2 years. You can’t get any more front line than that. Why would grafting with blood, sweat and tears for years to get into management rule the likes of myself out of a payrise? I’d like to think all Social Workers before me would like to progress in not only their careers but salary too. Come on Julles!

  20. Anonymous November 2, 2022 at 8:22 pm #

    And yet another authority continues to use its own ‘pay rise scheme’ which is related to performance and penalises those that are overwhelmed by high volumes of referals, with increased work, poor senior management support, simply told “to get one with it”.

  21. Elena November 2, 2022 at 8:25 pm #

    Thank you.
    Just wanted to ask if it’s still uncertain or not

  22. MM November 3, 2022 at 11:03 am #

    so does this mean, you dont get anything if you earn over £47,665?

    • Mithran Samuel November 3, 2022 at 3:54 pm #

      That’s a very good question. I’m sorry not to have covered this but I will look into this now.

      • Jane November 5, 2022 at 12:46 pm #

        Have you managed to find this out and if so will you be covering this? It’s insulting to say that Team Managers/IROs etc who earn just over 47000 are not impacted by the cost of living crisis.

  23. Esther November 3, 2022 at 1:30 pm #

    Great news I hope the pay rise covers non qualified staff and not only qualified SWs

    • Mithran Samuel November 3, 2022 at 3:54 pm #

      Yes it will.

  24. lisa November 3, 2022 at 3:20 pm #

    if you work part time will this be less?

    • Mithran Samuel November 3, 2022 at 3:55 pm #

      I assume it will be pro rated but will check.

  25. Neena November 3, 2022 at 4:34 pm #

    Hi, would I be backdated as I completed ASYE in June 2022. I am now a locum worker?

  26. Anonymous November 3, 2022 at 6:35 pm #

    So, the £1925 pay rise is for a hole year?
    And not all social workers will have the same amount rised per year?
    They should have made that amount per month and in that way would have been beneficial for social workers.
    Also, when the payment will arrive in everyone bank?
    Hope it will be sooner and not with the salary as it will be better for the tax ma and not for soacial workers.

  27. Elena November 3, 2022 at 6:42 pm #

    Can I ask if the backdated payment will come on the same day as the salary or not

  28. Loor November 3, 2022 at 6:47 pm #

    And those of us that earn above 47k don’t struggle with the cost of living crisis? Or don’t work under the same pressure as all other social workers…come on give us a break. The limit should have been aimed more at a director salary 70k+. As a manager we work just as hard and experience high levels of stress, this payrise would have at least shown some appreciation for that!!!!
    We are still front line workers, supporting our staff and rolling our sleeves up when our teams are under pressure. I’m so disappointed that we are seemingly devalued by this decision.

  29. Gosia Sikorska November 3, 2022 at 7:17 pm #

    I am moving to a different local authority from Monday the 7th November. Which authority will be paying me the backdated rise? The one I have been working for since april 2022 or the one I am moving to on the 7th Nov?

  30. Tahin November 4, 2022 at 7:49 am #

    That social workers are asking a journalist to answer questions about their pay says everything that never needs to be said again about how dysfunctional management and leadership of our profession is.

  31. John Adams November 4, 2022 at 11:52 am #

    slow clap for the unions negotiating an effective pay cut and badging it as a payrise. This is not a pay rise, its a pay cut as it does not keep up with inflation.

    • Laura Kirwan November 4, 2022 at 12:53 pm #

      Unison made it very clear this was the best they could achieve without an undertaking from members to reject the offer and embark on industrial action. Members voted to accept the offer. The Unions can only be as strong as their membership- people need to join their Union, vote and be willing to fight for our rights or we will continue to be handed pay cuts and reductions in terms and conditions.

      Scottish Social Workers threatened to strike and got a better offer.

  32. Nicole November 4, 2022 at 12:37 pm #

    Completely agree with my SW colleagues concerns about those on grades over £47,665. As TM’s, IRO’s etc we are all still social workers and working under increasing pressure but looks like not considered as part of this pay negotiation. Not unreasonably I had thought I was a social worker but looks like I’m not according to my union and LA and over 30 years’ experience isn’t worth as much as my colleagues who have been qualified for a much shorter period. So disappointed!

  33. Anonymous November 4, 2022 at 1:26 pm #

    Given the current rate of inflation is 8.8%, thank you UNISON for agreeing a pay cut. But what else is new, we’ve been taking cuts since 2008. But sure 4.04% to 6.6% is better than the 0% we had for years when the gov’t froze cost of living increases.

  34. Jane November 4, 2022 at 2:42 pm #

    Pensions were changed in 2014 and if I left tomorrow my pension is too low to live off
    Pensions are no longer great in the council
    I also pay a huge amount of salary for pension provision and there has to be some incentive or we would all be agency workers getting paid more etc which costs more the the council in the end.
    Guess some for other council workers

  35. RAH November 4, 2022 at 2:54 pm #

    It equates to 99p extra an hour, how can people say they are satisfied or “quite satisfied”. It’s atrocious and shameful.

  36. Lisa H November 4, 2022 at 7:41 pm #

    An update to this article is published on community care and noted the following:

    “For those earning above £47,665 but who are not covered by the chief officers’ deal, local arrangements apply. But UNISON and the LGA said it expected those staff – who include many team and service managers and principal social workers in children’s and adults’ services – would receive a £1,925 boost”

  37. Stuart November 5, 2022 at 1:50 am #

    managers sit at the comfort of their desks and in most cases are out of touch wirh front line.

    • Whatever November 8, 2022 at 10:56 am #

      Very true

  38. Social Sem November 5, 2022 at 8:05 am #

    Am I right in saying that if you earn more than £46,665 you will not get a pay rise? This seems ridiculous and unfair, we are experiencing the same issues with high living costs, surely the cap should be much higher. I literally miss out by £100, so someone earning £100 less than me will now earn more than me, even though I have more experience and in a more senior role?!!

    • Lisa H November 5, 2022 at 4:21 pm #

      The updated article highlights that people earning above the limit within the negotiations will receive the same pay award. Unison and the LGA expect the increase is paid to all.

  39. Matt November 5, 2022 at 5:24 pm #

    I understand the reason for the blanket £1,925 across all pay bands for this year as the lowest earners do need the most help. But the powers that be need to be very careful with this type of increase in future. If you condense all the bands by giving the lower grades a higher % increases you will destroy incentives for people to apply for roles with more stress and responsibility.

    Higher bands already pay a higher pension contribution % which means that take home pay between the grades narrows alot with this style of increase.

  40. GH November 5, 2022 at 6:11 pm #

    There is a disparity here as managers IRO and CPM have immense responsibility in terms of sAfeguarding provide vital support and guidance to those less experienced SW who are protected well by being supported fo a lot more than sit at their desks! and as a CPM work above and beyond our remit and hours we train act as LADO liaise with agencies and offer mentorship as required
    We too have mortgages family and cost of living issues

  41. Bella November 5, 2022 at 10:39 pm #

    Does anyone know more about the standby pay for emergency duty social workers? I cover out of hours (on top of my 37 hour week) and we are paid £12 a night for standby?

  42. Theresa November 6, 2022 at 11:08 am #

    Will this apply to Mental Health social workers working in the NHS?

  43. Chloe November 6, 2022 at 11:41 am #

    How is this being paid? £1925 in a lump sum and then an increase in our monthly pay? It just isn’t clear.

    • H November 6, 2022 at 4:58 pm #

      Yes I’d like to know also

      • Claire November 7, 2022 at 4:27 pm #

        Hi the payment is awarded from April 2022/April 2023 and is divided over the 12 months it will be backdated from April to when you receive it in your pay cheque in a lump sum and the remainder to be paid in you weekly/monthly pay roughly £160.00 paid extra each month if paid in November lump sum would be roughly £1850 then remainder of payments of £160 each month

        • alan November 17, 2022 at 8:22 pm #

          how can you get a lump sum of 1850 ?? from November backdated to April?
          that’s nearly the full increase for a full year !!

  44. Vix November 7, 2022 at 12:18 pm #

    This does not apply to all social workers in LA work. The title is misleading as many social workers do not know the difference between NJC LAs and others. So if your LA is not signed up to NJC (national joint committee) which is around 30% of LAs, then you won’t be getting this pay rise.
    It’s time SWs valued ourselves and campaigned for a true uplift and pay that takes us back to the living standards of 2010 and before. We have had a real terms cut now of around 25% and this won’t even cover the extra gas/electric costs.
    Join a union and look to strike action to get pay and conditions that are not going to drive more people out of the profession and give us a decent work/life balance and mean we aren’t paying to work through the extra costs we are absorbing.

    • Uk November 10, 2022 at 11:41 pm #

      I am totally agree, this actually shame Unions are agreed. It surprised me the inflation is 14.1 percent and pay hike is just 4 percent. I am going to cancel my membership from unison as they did send me any consultation information. I found somewhere the permanent social worker are getting £12 per hour which absolutely shame. Don’t believe this Union especially you are working in local authority

  45. Josh November 7, 2022 at 2:10 pm #

    Does this apply to Apprentice social workers

  46. Anonymous November 15, 2022 at 4:03 pm #

    Does this mean EDT social workers should be paid £31 a session? or that the uplift would increase whatever the payment is (my LA is significantly less that £31 at the moment!)

  47. Steph D November 15, 2022 at 7:31 pm #

    Hi what happens if you have been on maternity leave? Do you get this lump sum or not?

    • Katie November 21, 2022 at 1:38 pm #

      I’d like to know this too! Typical we were off at the time it’s backdated to!

  48. Lucy November 23, 2022 at 10:41 pm #

    Will staff who work for a unitary council still be entitled this?

  49. Anon November 25, 2022 at 11:36 pm #

    Will not apply to SW’s in Essex as Essex opted out and did there own scale. Every year sw’s have to justify they have met criteria consistently at their current stage and if you want to go up a pay scale you need to evidence the next stage which links to payscale.

  50. LM November 30, 2022 at 10:31 am #

    After we followed this news for awhile, my team got somewhat excited. I mean, food inflation just hit 12%+ and petrol and energy prices are unreal, but any pay rise was welcome. In real terms our money goes much less further though.

    However, we just found out that Kent County Council is not in the National Joint Council for Local Government Services (NJC) scheme, so no pay rise for us. Happy for those who got something.

    I do wonder why it’s so difficult for social work unions to consider strike action. Considering pay is a key factor in retention.