More than a million employees in the UK's National Health Service (NHS) are set to be offered a pay boost - but only if they give up a day's annual leave, a leaked document has revealed.
According to the document obtained by The Guardian, the government is ready to increase salaries for the 1.3 million workers on the Agenda for Change contract - which includes all staff except for doctors, dentists and some senior managers.
The Guardian reports that the Treasury and Department of Health and Social Care plan to propose that all non-medical NHS staff in England will get a three percent increase in their salary in 2018-19, followed by rises of one to two percent over the following two years.
Other NHS staff may see pay rises of up to 10 percent and, in certain cases, well above that by 2021 due to the government's removal of its previous one percent pay rise gap.
The government is currently negotiating the deal with 14 unions including Unite, Royal College of Nursing, the GMB (a general trade union) and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists.
The move comes after Chancellor Philip Hammond's budget last November, when he declared an end to the pay freezes or 1 percent caps on NHS staff which had previously been enforced.
The mark will be the first meaningful boost in NHS staff pay since 2010 since the pay freeze or one percent cap was introduced.
However, the NHS staff pay rise will not come for free as the Chancellor is said to be demanding 'productivity improvements' for staff as part of the deal to lift the paycap.
According to the Guardian, government negotiators have said that NHS staff losing one day of their 27 days annual leave entitlement is a 'red line' if the pay rise is going to happen.
If union members refuse to accept losing a day's leave, ministers will withdraw their offer in its entirety and may revert to the one percent pay rise that was previously planned.
Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust thinktank, told the paper: "If the government makes a proposal like that obtained by the Guardian, staff, especially those paid least, will welcome the respite from a real-term squeeze on their wages which has cost them billions.
"With very serious shortages of staff, government is right to conclude that an austerity approach to the NHS workforce has reached its limits."
However, Edwards added that losing a day's leave would effectively give staff a pay cut of 0.4%, even with the salary increase.
The Department for Health and Social Care said the department does not comment on leaks.Featured Image Credit: PA