The equality impact assessment of the 2020-21 Public Sector Pay Policy proposals concludes that the £750 cash underpin will positively benefit lower paid staff and in particular those with one or more protected characteristic. 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 protect these employees from pay restraint and in many cases provide a positive benefit - underpinning Ministerial objectives for a wealthier and fairer Scotland.
The continued progressive approach proposed in the 2020-21 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 will set 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 the risk of any indirect discrimination, as a result of capping the pay for higher earners, can be justified by the overarching aims of the pay policy, 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 the pay policy are also subject to the statutory public sector equality duty, 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 2020-21 Public Sector Pay Policy are available on the Scottish Government's Public Sector Pay webpages at: www.gov.scot/publicsectorpay.
A Technical Guide providing further detail to assist public bodies in the preparation of their Staff and Senior Appointment pay remit proposals under this policy will be published separately. This will be available on the Scottish Government's Public Sector Pay webpages at: www.gov.scot/publicsectorpay.