The primary aims of the Scottish Government's Public Sector Pay Policy are to set pay increases in a way that are fair, reflect the real life circumstances people face, help sustain public sector jobs and protect public services while ensuring public sector budgets remain in balance to ensure that that pay rises are affordable now and in the future. To help employers work towards delivering the policy aim that pay is fair and non-discriminatory, the 2019-20 policy continues to provide public bodies with the flexibility to use paybill savings address evidenced equality issues.
Our equality impact assessment concluded that the progressive measures proposed in the 2019-20 Pay Policy can be seen to positively benefit lower paid staff. From the data available, there is a higher proportion of women, disabled people, individuals from a minority ethnic group, younger employees or a combination of one or more of these protected characteristics as well as part-time workers among lower paid employees. Therefore, the measures proposed in the Pay Policy help protect these employees and in many cases provide a positive benefit - underpinning Ministerial objectives for a wealthier and fairer Scotland.
The progressive approach taken in the 2019-20 Pay Policy will also help to reduce overall income inequality. It may also help in positively working towards reducing the gender pay gap within the public sector as it should increase the overall base levels of pay for those at the lower end where women are overly concentrated. This is further supported by the continued restraint applied to higher earners, including senior appointments, where there are higher proportions of men.
The Pay Policy sets the overarching framework within which public bodies can make individual choices on the impact of the policy on their own circumstances. Public bodies have the flexibility to draw up their own pay proposals to take into account local pay issues such as recruitment and retention, equality and the impact of the lower pay measures on other staff. The Pay Policy actively encourages employers to take into account their own staffing profile, local evidence, views of staff and unions and equality issues in framing their pay proposals.
While we are satisfied that no discrimination exists at the level of the policy proposals outlined above, it will still be necessary for individual employers to ensure that they do not introduce or perpetuate any direct or indirect discrimination for individuals in their application of the policy. Employers covered by this Pay Policy are also subject to the equality duties and are expected to undertake their own assessment of their pay proposals prior to submitting them to the Scottish Government.
The supporting Technical Guides to the Pay Policy will continue to remind public bodies of their duty to ensure their pay systems are fair and non-discriminatory and that they have due regard to their obligations under public sector equalities duties in considering their pay proposals.
The results from the equality impact assessment of the 2019-20 Public Sector Pay Policy are available on the Scottish Government's Public Sector Pay webpages at: www.gov.scot/policies/public-sector-pay/.
A Technical Guide providing further detail to assist public bodies in the preparation of their staff pay remit proposals under this policy alongside the Technical Guide for Senior Appointments will be published in December 2018. These will be available on the Scottish Government's Public Sector Pay webpages at: www.gov.scot/policies/public-sector-pay/.