Public sector pay policy 2018-2019 (superseded)

This was the original pay policy document as announced on 14 December 2017. Following negotiations during the passage of the draft Budget Bill, a revised pay policy document was issued.

Senior Appointments

The Pay Policy for Senior Appointments governs the remuneration (salary, pay range, annual increase or review, non‑consolidated performance payment (bonus) and other non‑salary rewards, etc.) of:

  • Chief Executives of Non‑Departmental Public Bodies ( NDPBs) and Public Corporations, etc.
  • NHS Scotland Executive and Senior Management posts.

This Pay Policy also governs the remuneration (daily fee rates, annual uprates or reviews and any pension arrangements, etc.) of:

  • All public appointments ( Chairs and Members) to Scottish public bodies; Non‑Executive Directors of the Scottish Government and its Agencies and Associated Departments; Chairs and Board Members of NHS Bodies; appointments to Tribunals, Appeals Boards, Advisory Committees and Inquiries, and ad hoc review or working groups, etc. under the auspices of the Scottish Ministers.

Pay Metrics

The following sets out details of each of the key pay metrics which apply in relation to the Pay Policy for Senior Appointments in 2018‑19.

Pay Increases and Thresholds

Up to a 2 per cent pay increase for all Chief Executive appointments, except where the current salary is £80,000 and above, in which case the pay increase will be limited to £1,600.

The 2 per cent pay increase will also apply to the daily fees for Chairs and Members of Scottish public bodies up to £307, above which a maximum increase in daily fee will be limited to £6 per day.


Progression increases for Chief Executives covered by this Pay Policy are limited to a maximum of 1.5 per cent.

Non‑consolidated payments to those on the maximum of their pay range

Non-consolidated payments amounting to no more than 1 per cent of salary may be paid but only for those Chief Executives already on the maximum of their pay range (and who no longer benefit from progression) or on spot rates. No such non‑consolidated payments may be made to Chairs and Members.

Non-consolidated performance related pay

Access to non‑consolidated performance related pay (bonuses) is again suspended in 2018‑19. The policy expectation is that any bonus arrangement in a Chief Executive's contract will be removed when an appropriate opportunity arises (on new appointment or following a review).

No Compulsory Redundancy

One of the key strands of Scottish Government policy is the commitment to no compulsory redundancy and this is reflected in the Pay Policy. The Government believes this commitment has created the right environment to provide staff with job security while enabling employers and their staff representatives to take a range of steps to manage their headcount and budgets to realise the necessary savings to deliver efficiencies.

The policy position remains that public bodies will be expected to negotiate extensions to their no compulsory redundancy agreements for the duration of their pay settlement as part of constructive, collaborative discussions to make the most effective use of the funding available for the pay award, within the bounds of the Pay Policy.

Equalities Assessment

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 2018‑19 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 2018‑19 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 proposed for the 2018‑19 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 2018‑19 Public Sector Pay Policy are available on the Scottish Government's Public Sector Pay webpages at:

Technical Guides

A Technical Guide providing further detail to assist public bodies in the preparation of their staff pay remit proposals under this policy will be published in December 2017 with the Technical Guide for Senior Appointments being published in early 2018. These will be available on the Scottish Government's Public Sector Pay webpages at:


Any queries on this policy should be directed to the Scottish Government's Finance Pay Policy team by emailing or by telephoning:

Lesley Doherty 0131 244 7345
Geoff Owenson 0131 244 7346
Neil Ramage 0131 244 7052

The Scottish Government
December 2017


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