Pay policy

1. Equal pay statement

1.1 Wycombe District Council is committed to the principle of equal opportunities in employment. We believe that all employees, (irrespective of gender, race, religion, belief, sexual orientation or age), should receive equal pay for carrying out the same or broadly similar work, or for work rated as equivalent or of equal value.

1.2 In order to achieve equitable pay we aim to operate fair and just pay and reward systems which are transparent, based on objective criteria and free from bias.

2. Scope

2.1 This policy extends to all council employees irrespective of length of service, including chief officers, and employees on part time and fixed term contracts.

3. Legal framework

3.1 The primary legislation governing equal pay is the Equal Pay Act 1970 and subsequent amendments. This requires employers to ensure that men and women in the same employment, carrying out equivalent work (as defined below), receive the same level of pay. The following terms are contained in Equal Pay Legislation:

  • 'Like work' is defined as work which is the same or broadly similar
  • 'Work rated as equivalent' is defined as work which has achieved the same or similar number of points under a job evaluation scheme.
  • 'Work of equal value' is defined as work which is broadly equal in value when compared under headings such as effort, skill and decisions

3.2 In addition, indirect discrimination has been incorporated into equal pay as a result of case law in the UK and Europe. Indirect discrimination may arise when pay policy has a disproportionate impact on one particular sex.

3.3 Differences in pay may be justified where it is established that the difference is for a genuine and material reason which is not related to gender.

4. Definition of pay

4.1 For the purposes of this policy and in line with legislation, pay is defined by Article 141 of the Treaty of Rome as:

"The ordinary basic or minimum wage or salary and any other consideration, whether in cash or kind, which the worker receives, directly or indirectly, in respect of his (or her) employment from his (or her) employer."

4.2 Pay therefore includes allowances, pensions, discretionary bonuses and sick pay as well as other non-financial benefits such as vocational training.


5.1 Wycombe District Council will:

  • examine existing and future pay practices for all employees to ensure they comply with equal pay legislation and best practice.
  • operate a pay system which is transparent, based on objective criteria and free from unlawful bias.
  • use an analytical job evaluation scheme (currently HAY Local Government Scheme) to assist in determining equal pay. The job evaluation scheme is used to determine the grade of new and significantly changed posts.
  • discuss and agree equal pay policy with staff representatives
  • provide training and guidance for line managers involved in decisions about pay and benefits
  • undertake pay audits to examine existing practice and future pay practices
  • provide management information about the council's workforce, analyse findings and take appropriate action in relation to equal pay issues.
  • inform employees how their pay is determined
  • analyse and publish equal pay related data for the workforce and job applicants on the council's website.

5.2 In order to implement this policy the council will apply the following principles and processes in respect of pay.

5.2.1 Pay agreements

The council applies nationally agreed terms and conditions for cost of living awards, hours of work, leave entitlements and the sickness absence scheme.

The National Joint Council for Local Government Services (NJC) agreements are applied to officers graded 1-9. Agreements of the Joint Negotiating Committee for Chief Officers of Local Authorities are applied to officers graded 10 to 12. Agreements of the JNC for Chief Executives of local authorities are applied to the Chief Executive.

The council's grade structure is agreed and incorporated into local conditions of service.

5.2.2 Salary progression

All posts are subject to grading by job evaluation. Each grade has seven increments (or spinal column points 'SCP's'). The starting salary for officers newly appointed to the council will normally be at the lowest point on the scale subject to the successful candidate's level of relevant experience, skills and qualifications assessed against the requirements of the person specification. The reasons for appointments above this point should be documented.

Incremental progression within grades is performance based. Progression between increments within a grade requires a successful performance assessment rating as a minimum rating. Subject to the requirements of the performance management scheme and grade structure, incremental progression occurs 1 April except in the following cases:

  • staff newly appointed to the council and whose start date falls between 1 January and 31 March.
  • where an officer joins the Council between 1 October and 31 December the 1 April will fall within the probationary period. In this instance in order to establish a satisfactory performance level, incremental progression will be deferred until the end of the probation period.s
  • Staff who receive incremental progression between 1 January and 31 March will not receive an April increment. This may occur where there is an increase in salary for the following reasons:
    • a change of grade as a result of job evaluation
    • progression through career graded/link graded posts
    • an existing member of staff is appointed to a different post within the council
    • secondment to a higher grade resulting in salary progression subject to progression being the same, or in excess of, the expected incremental progression in their substantive post, had the officer achieved a successful performance

In these instances staff are not subject to a probationary period. On confirmation of the grade change officers will be placed on an increment within the higher grade which equates to the next highest increment to their existing salary. Reasons for placing officers on a salary above this point should be documented.

5.2.3 Staff benefits

A range of staff benefits will be offered to employees. The benefits on offer may vary over time and will be subject to periodic review. The purpose of such benefits is to enhance the council's pay and remuneration package and take account of work life balance.

5.2.4 Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS)

The LGPS is a career average contributory pension scheme and is recognised as an important element of the council's pay and reward package. Eligibility for membership is governed by the rules of the LGPS scheme.

5.2.5 Market position/pay benchmarking

The council will benchmark its pay rates against a comparator group of private and public sector employers.

5.2.6 Market supplements/appointment allowance

The council may consider the use of market supplements for specific posts in the event of recruitment difficulties. Supplements will be time limited and subject to the provision of objective market evidence to support payment. The introduction of a market supplement or appointment allowance requires the authorisation of the Corporate Director and Head of HR in consultation with the relevant cabinet member and Chairman of the Personnel and Development Committee.

5.3. Complaints procedure

Equal pay complaints should, in the first instance, be raised with the relevant Head of Service or HR Advisor. If the issue is not resolved at this informal stage the complaint may be dealt with through the formal grievance procedure.

The council will work in partnership with staff representatives to resolve concerns regarding equal pay.

6. Monitoring

6.1 The council will carry out regular monitoring of complaints regarding pay inequality and of the impact of pay practices.

7. Responsibilities

7.1 The council, through elected members, committee structures, the Strategic Management Board and heads of service, has a responsibility for ensuring employees are treated equitably.

7.2 The Head of HR, ICT and Shared Support Services is responsible for the review of all policies relating to pay and benefits.

7.3 Line managers have an additional responsibility to ensure that initial starting salaries are consistent with this policy.

8. Further information

8.1 Further information and advice about equal pay and associated matters can be obtained from Human Resources.

8.2 The council's equality goals can be found in the Corporate Plan.