Public sector pay policy for staff pay remits 2019-2020: technical guide

Supports the application of the 2019-2020 public sector pay policy and applies to staff in the Scottish Government and its associated departments, agencies, non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) and public corporations.

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1. What Is New For 2019-20

What are the key features of the pay policy for staff pay remits?

1.1 The Public Sector Pay Policy for 2019-20 was announced in the draft Budget statement on 12 December 2018 and covers pay settlements in 2019-20. The policy sets the parameters for public sector pay increases for both staff pay and senior appointments within a range of public bodies in Scotland over the period 2019-20.

1.2 The policy is available on the Scottish Government website at:

1.3 The key features of the policy for staff pay remits in 2019-20 are:

  • delivering a progressive approach to pay increases:
    • lifting the pay cap by providing a guaranteed minimum increase of 3 per cent pay uplift for public sector workers who earn £36,500 or less.
    • a limit of up to 2 per cent on the increase in paybill for those earning above £36,500 and below £80,000.
    • limiting the pay increase for those earning £80,000 or more to £1,600.
  • continuing with the requirement for employers to pay their staff the real Living Wage.
  • continuing the flexibility for employers to use up to 1 per cent of baseline salaries to address inequalities, Where such proposals result in changes to existing pay and grading structures, public bodies must demonstrate that they can be wholly funded by savings. The inequalities can include:
    • targeting the lower paid by setting a cash underpin of up to £750 to those earning £25,000 or less.
    • awarding a non-consolidated payment amounting to no more than 1 per cent of salary, but only for employees already on the maximum of their pay range (who no longer benefit from progression) or those on spot rates from paybill savings.
    • to consider affordable and sustainable changes to their existing pay and grading structures where there is clear evidence of equality or recruitment and retention issues.
  • retaining discretion for individual employers to reach their own decisions about pay progression (limited to a maximum of 1.5 per cent for Chief Executives) outwith the pay metrics for basic award increases.
  • maintaining the suspension of non-consolidated performance related pay (bonuses).
  • continuing to support the policy of No Compulsory Redundancy.

What are the key changes to this Technical Guide?

1.4 The information in this guide follows that set out in the 2018-19 Technical Guide. You will wish to note in particular the following sections:

  • The pay thresholds – paragraphs 3.3 to 3.4.
  • Application of the real Living Wage – paragraphs 3.33 to 3.39.
  • Application of the pay award for those below the lower pay threshold – paragraphs 3.42 to 3.48.
  • Application of the pay award for those between the lower and upper pay thresholds – paragraphs 3.49 to 3.57.
  • Application of the pay award for those above the upper pay threshold – paragraphs 3.58 to 3.61.
  • The flexibility to use paybill savings to address pay inequalities – paragraphs 3.12, 3.75 to 3.78.



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