It’s a guest post day on WLLG. Today’s poster tackles an area of local government that few dare to tread but is becoming increasingly important; the job evaluation process. If you have a post you’d like to add to the blog please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org but not before you’ve read this excellent post:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that equal pay is a good thing. But pay cuts in the name of equal pay aren’t readily accepted.
Enter the quandary of Job Evaluation.
The 2004 Local Government pay agreement obliged all councils to carry out JE. Roles are assessed and graded on factors including knowledge, mental skills, physical/mental/emotional demands and working conditions.
Some roles stay on existing spinal column points; some increase and some – inevitably –go down. Same is fine, up welcome, but a reduction in scale points, particularly for the low-paid and those at the top of their scale, can cause serious upset.
The mantra of JE is that roles are evaluated, not people. This is a hard fact for those potentially facing a drop in pay, with related effects on salary progression and pensions. While pay protection is usually offered, ranging from months to years, an adverse JE outcome can be a serious blow to individuals’ finances and wellbeing.
The process is also fiendishly complicated; with each HR department jealously guarding its latest copy of the ‘Hay’ and ‘GLPC’ guidance (no-one is entirely sure what these are or how they work). This does not help the staff who lose out as the reasoning (“the JD received less points than needed”) is often quite opaque.
Those worst affected attack the JE process, unable to understand how the job they’ve been doing for years has suddenly dropped three grades on the back of a new job description. They question the motivation behind it and then begin updating their CV – often hunting for the same slim opportunities as their colleagues.
Unions are normally involved at every step, and strike ballots and action can and have been called. But without JE councils may prolong inequality and leave themselves open to equal pay claims.
Rock? Or hard place?
Add frozen cost-of-living increments and ever-present changes to pensions and it’s not a great time to be at a job evaluating council.
Equal pay is a cause worth striving for. Unfortunately good principles are not always easy to put into practice.
The Job Evaluation process is necessary but has it become a necessary evil?
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