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JPP Law Blog

Woman placed on higher grade loses appeal over pay rises

A woman who was put on a higher pay grade as a way of protecting her salary following a job re-evaluation did not have an automatic right to be receive future increases.

She was therefore not entitled to the benefit of a pay increase intended only for posts that were properly categorised as being at that grade.

That was the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of a woman who had worked for her local authority for more than 20 years.

In 1999, the authority introduced a new nine-grade pay structure as part of a job evaluation scheme, which found that her post had been over-valued. It was categorised as a "grade 8" post in the new structure. Because the employee's salary exceeded the maximum payable in grade 8, the local authority created a "personal grade" for her and placed her at 9.37.

She remained in her post and reached grade 9.38 in 2000. It was made clear to her that she had then reached the highest salary point possible in that post, because that equated to the highest point she could have reached in that post under the old system.

In 2004, salary levels for grade 9 posts were increased but were not applied to her.

In 2005 she retired and claimed that, under the final salary pension scheme, her pension should be calculated on the basis of what her salary would have been had she received the 2004 increase.

The case went all the way to the Court of Appeal, which ruled against her. It held that the local authority was clearly right. The terms of her contract did not entitle her to pay increases intended for grade 9 posts. If they did, she would have received an unjustified pay increase in 2004 unrelated to the value of her post, and that would have been more than the pay protection she had been contractually promised.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article. To find out more about JPP's employment law services please visit employment law.

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