The decision to give England women’s team match fees for individual games for the first time has been hailed as a “revolution” by coach Simon Middleton.
In July, the after it announced it would not be renewing central contracts for the 15-a-side squad.
But on Thursday the RFU said the 35-strong Elite Player Squad would receive an annual fee and a match fee.
“It’s a step towards professionalism in the women’s game,” said Middleton.
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Negotiations over pay have been ongoing since the summer, but the RFU said they are almost at an end.
“It’s been a tough process, but we’ve reached agreement,” Middleton told BBC Sport.
“We are 100% behind it. The deal was always coming, it was just a case of what it would look like. It’s an unbelievably exciting time.
“It’s a revolution in this sport and that’s exactly what we want. The girls can genuinely look at the sport now and see it as a genuine way to make a living, and that’s how it should be.”