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Revealed: How much are Boots pharmacists paid?

The best paid store manager at the multiple could be paid as much as double the lowest paid Boots pharmacist, the pharmacy union has revealed.

An online tool created by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) shows that pharmacists working at Boots could be earning £10,500 less than the "market rate" for their role.

A Boots spokesperson told C+D that the multiple has “invested significantly in pay over recent years”.

 

The PDA secured recognition at the multiple in 2019, and has "negotiated annual pay reviews since that time", it noted.

 

The union’s “ready reckoner” tool can be used by pharmacy staff to see how their salary compares to the market rate, which the PDA claimed Boots calculates by participating “in anonymous pay rate surveys along with similar employers”.

Last week (November 30), the PDA announced that it had updated the “pay scales” used in the tool to reflect the pay rise it negotiated for Boots’ pharmacists in October.

Read more: UPDATED: PDA and Boots announce 5% pharmacist pay rise under new deal

The tool shows that as of last month, Boots said the “median average” market rate for a “pharmacist” working 40 hours per week – the “standard” for a Boots contract – was £51,500 per year.

The union said that Boots sets its pay scales “from 80% to 120% of the median average of market rates”.

Using these pay scales, C+D has calculated that pharmacists at Boots could be paid a salary of anywhere between £41,000 and £62,000 as of November.

Read more: UPDATED: Boots trainee pharmacist pay tops out at £25k following uplift

According to these figures, the difference between the highest and lowest paid Boots pharmacist could be as much as £21,000 annually.

“By definition, those paid 80% =<100% are being paid below-average salaries compared to the market,” the union said.

"Some pharmacists with longer service may be particularly interested to learn about where their pay sits compared to the market,” it added.

 

What about newly qualified and IP pharmacists?

 

The PDA’s tool also shows that as of last month, Boots calculated that the median average market rate for a newly qualified pharmacist working 40 hours per week was £51,500.

This is the same as a pharmacist generally, meaning newly qualified pharmacists could also be paid a salary of anywhere between £41,000 and £62,000 as of November.

And the data shows that Boots paid independent prescribing (IP) pharmacists working 40 hours per week between £43,000 and £64,000, the median amount being £53,500 a year.

However, a Boots spokesperson stressed that the starting salary for a newly qualified pharmacist at Boots is £42,000, as per the pay settlement announced in June last year.

 

Store managers paid up to £80k 

 

Meanwhile, the multiple said that the median market rate for “specialist practitioners” working a 40-hour week was £59,500 a year, meaning it paid between £47,500 and £71,500 for the role.

 

As of November, Boots store managers running “small” stores were paid between £44,000 and £66,000 with a median market rate of £55,000 per year for a 40-hour week.

The median rate for “medium” store managers working the same hours was £60,500 per year, resulting in a salary between £48,500 and £73,000. 

With a median rate of £67,000, “large” store managers were paid up to £80,000 and a minimum of £53,500, meaning that the best paid “large” store manager was paid almost double the lowest paid pharmacist. 

 

Lack of transparency

 

The PDA said that the fact that some Boots employees are paid less than the market rate “isn’t always clear to pharmacists”.

The union claimed that it suggested the multiple “create a tool on [its] internal systems to make this more transparent” but that the “company declined to do so”.

Read more: Boots offloads pension scheme for £4.8bn amid fresh sales rumours

“Transparency is an underpinning principle of the PDA’s objectives for any pay system” it said, adding that “the tool is designed to help employed pharmacists understand their relative pay position”.

The PDA encouraged its members who “consider themselves too low in the range to please contact their local PDA rep in Boots who will be able to help and advise them”.

 

“Competitive remuneration”

 

 

Responding to C+D’s analysis, a Boots spokesperson said that the company has “invested significantly in pay over recent years to ensure that [it is] offering competitive remuneration to [its] pharmacists”.

 

They confirmed that “similar to other employers”, the multiple uses “market ranges to help inform salary setting”.

 

They said the multiple takes “into account factors such as experience, continual professional development qualifications and location”.

 

The spokesperson stressed that Boots also offers additional benefits such as a generous holiday entitlement, a pension, a discretionary annual bonus, insurance cover, reimbursement of regulatory fees, an employee assistance programme and corporate discounts.

 

In October, the pharmacists' union and Boots announced that they had agreed a new pay deal that would award a 5% pay increase to eligible pharmacists from November.

 

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