public-sector-pay-rises-–-who-decides-and-how?

Public sector pay rises – who decides and how?

Public sector workers including nurses, teachers and doctors are set to have changes to their pay announced later today.

They are understood to be getting a rise of around 5%, in line with average forecast wage increases, but unions say it is not enough as it is less than half the current level of RPI inflation.

As those in the public sector receive taxpayers’ money, the amount they are paid is determined by their overall employer – the government.

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However, there is a lengthy process to determine what their pay should be before ministers ever see a number.

How are public sector pay rises determined?

Pay review bodies

Independent pay review bodies play an integral role in informing the government’s final decision on how about 45% of the public sector gets paid – including teachers, nurses, doctors, police officers and members of the armed forces.

They are made up of experts in their field and their appointments are made on merit, not political affiliation.

The process begins when the secretary of state for the relevant area requests recommendations on employee pay from the pay review bodies.

They will set a timeline and parameters such as asking the bodies to consider issues such as affordability, retention, recruitment and the state of the entire labour market.

Departments’ spending on pay is limited by the amount of funding they receive from the Treasury.

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NHS doctors and nurses will be included in the pay changes

A range of sources, such as trade unions and their members, as well as employers then submit evidence to the pay review bodies, who will usually visit staff from their sector to determine concerns and opinions.

The government then also submits its formal pay offer at this stage for all levels of staff affected.

After receiving all the evidence from the relevant groups, the pay review bodies then recommend what the level of pay should be.

What happens after the recommendations are made?

The government chooses when it will respond to and publish the reports made by the pay review bodies.

Secretaries of state usually respond to the recommendations by issuing a written ministerial statement in parliament.

On the whole, the recommendations are accepted by secretaries of state, but there have been times when they have overridden the recommendations.

Sectors can disagree with the pay changes and can strike over the decision but the government has the ultimate say.

The latest pay rises will likely be implemented in the autumn but could be backdated to the start of April, when the financial year started.

Are there pay review bodies for all public sector jobs?

No.

Civil servants not in the senior civil service have their pay set by individual departments, according to guidance issued by the Cabinet Office and the Treasury.

Local government staff (not teachers) have their pay determined by their employers and trade unions.

Devolved governments – Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – set their own pay policy for public bodies under their control.