Almost 1.4 million public sector employees, including nurses, hospital cleaners, doctors and members of the armed forces, are to receive a 1% pay rise from next month, the Government has announced.
The Treasury said recommendations from a number of pay review bodies had been accepted, sparking anger from unions.
Unison, which represents 450,000 NHS workers including nurses, paramedics, therapists and midwives, said staff face another year of financial hardship.
The union condemned the second successive 1% annual increase as a "squeeze" on pay, which officials warned would leave many health workers and their families struggling to make ends meet. CPI inflation is running at 2.7%.
The 1% rise will be paid to a million NHS workers, 169,000 doctors and dentists, 170,000 members of the armed forces from the ranks of private to general, 31,000 prison staff, 3,600 senior civil servants, 2,200 members of the judiciary and 500 senior NHS managers.
The Treasury said the pay award was in line with the Chancellor's Autumn Statement in 2011 on public sector pay following a wage freeze.
Christina McAnea, Unison's head of health, said: "What kind of message does it send to health workers about the value this Government places on their work? And what incentive is there for young people to join the NHS when they are so undervalued?
"Freezing and squeezing pay is crushing morale and heaping financial misery on more than a million NHS workers. At the same time, the NHS is going through a massive reorganisation and staff are dealing with job cuts, rationing and ever increasing patient numbers.
"Low pay is still a massive issue in the NHS, with thousands of staff being paid less than the Living Wage of £7.45 per hour."
The union has reported more health workers, including nurses, turning to its welfare fund for help to pay for rising fuel bills, debt advice and emergency loans. In its evidence to the NHS pay review body, Unison warned that staff were facing growing pressures.