What is junior doctor pay banding?

If you’re a new or prospective junior doctor, you might come across the term “banding”, usually referring to your salary. But there’s not usually very much information about what it means or how it applies to you.

In summary, banding no longer applies to junior doctors in England under the “new” 2016 contract. To find out more about how a junior doctor’s salary is calculated now, see the dedicated page on the topic.

The “old” 2002 contract

Banding refers to the pay supplement system used in the “old” junior doctors’ contract, which applied in England between 2002 and 2016 (it still applies if you work in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland).

Banding was used to refer to the number of hours worked, on average per week, and the degree to which these hours were “unsociable”, i.e. weekends, evenings and nights. Junior doctors would be paid a base salary, and each job would be “banded” depending on the degree of workload:

  • Band 3 – more than 56 hours per week on average or not achieving the required rest
  • Band 2A – between 48 and 56 hours per week on average, most antisocially
  • Band 2B – between 48 and 56 hours per week on average, least antisocially
  • Band 1A – between 40 and 48 hours per week on average, most antisocially
  • Band 1B – between 40 and 48 hours per week on average, moderately antisocially
  • Band 1C – between 40 and 48 hours per week on average, least antisocially
  • No band – no more than 40 hours per week on average

For example, a job that was banded 1A would pay 1.5 times the base salary. This would involve a moderate degree of out-of-hours work. On the contrary, an “unbanded” job would have no out-of-hours work and would be paid the flat basic salary.

The “new” 2016 contract

Banding no longer applies to junior doctors in England under the “new” 2016 contract.

Instead, juniors are paid based on a combination of factors – including exact hours worked per week, how many of these are outside “sociable” hours, and the frequency of weekend working.

To find out more about how a junior doctor’s salary is calculated now, see the dedicated page on the topic. You can also use the pay calculator if you already have an idea of the hours and times that you will be working.

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