Pay and benefits – proposed improvements for staff at levels 1, 2 and 3

June 30th, 2022

An increase in the pay and benefits for staff at levels 1-3 has been proposed following an extensive review into their terms and conditions.

Colleagues will see an increase in the minimum and maximum spine points at levels 1-3, a boost in annual leave allowance, and the option to increase their pension contributions, with the university continuing to contribute double the amount of staff contribution up to newly defined levels.

This improvement in benefits follows a comprehensive review into the pay, benefits and reward received by staff at levels 1-3. Colleagues completed surveys and joined working groups to share their thoughts, experiences, and concerns.

We have fed this into the local pay negotiations for 2022 and have presented Unison and Unite with a three-year pay offer implemented  from 1 August 2022 – 31 July 2025 which seeks to address key areas of feedback from the review.

The overall value of the pay increases for the level 1-3 group is 7.6% in year 1, 4.5% in year 2 and 4.4% in year 3 (this is made up of incremental increases and spine point value increases). As part of the offer, we have addressed the following key areas of feedback:

We have proposed:

Improve base pay – We propose to increase the minimum and standard maximum spine point for levels 1-3. This means that most colleagues will receive at least one increment in year one (some will receive more) in addition to the pay increase applied to the spine points. In 2022 the university proposes to increase the spine point values by between 3% – 6.8%.

Consolidate the Living Wage – We propose to raise the level 1 minimum spine point (SP) from SP3 to SP8 effective from 1 August 2022. This means that all staff currently paid at spine points 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 will move to SP8 effective from 1 August 2022. SP8 is above the Living Wage rate and as such our consolidated hourly rates will exceed the Living Wage rate from that date.

Reinstate pay differential (an issue mainly impacting O&F staff – We propose to increase the minimum and standard maximum spine points for staff at level 1-3 and have offered to move O&F staff onto the same pay scales as APM and TS colleagues. The combined effect of this means that we will be able to reinstate pay differentials between roles with line management relationships in the O&F job family. Those differentials already exist in other job families.

Provide space for colleagues higher in the band to increment – We propose to increase the standard maximum spine point at levels 1,2 and 3, providing incremental progression for more than 90% of staff at those levels in each of the next three years. The small number of staff who are already above the new standard maximum spine points will receive a non-consolidated payment worth the value of an increment in year 1.

Improve annual leave allowances – An additional day of annual leave (FTE) is proposed within year 1 and year 3. This will total 27 days (FTE) in addition to university closure days and bank holidays by the leave year which starts after August 2024.

Enable level 1-3 staff to achieve higher levels of matched pension contributions – The offer enables colleagues to increase their level of contribution by 1% in each of the three years of the pay offer. The university will raise its maximum level of matching contribution by 2% in each of the three years. By year 3 this will mean the maximum employee contribution can increase from 5% to 8%, the maximum employer contribution can increase from 10% to 16% and the maximum combined total from 15% to 24%.

Align our Operations and Facilities staff pay scales with pay scales of APM and TS colleagues at levels 1-3 – We will move O&F roles over onto the same pay scales as APM and TS colleagues with the same opportunity for salary incremental progression as all other job families at levels 1-3.

For more detail on how these changes will impact staff in different job families, visit the HR webpages:

If agreed, the proposed changes will be implemented from August 1 2022.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West said: “Increasing the minimum and maximum pay spine points for staff at level 1-3 will help to support colleagues experiencing significant cost-of-living pressures in the current economic climate. Additional economic pressures are expected to come in the autumn and we want to ensure that staff at all levels are supported as far as we can.

“However, this pay review also addresses the differences between terms and conditions for staff in different pay groups and these proposals are essential in bringing equity to our pay, benefit and reward. By working both with colleagues at these levels and the unions that represent them, we have developed a set of proposed changes that respond directly to staff issues and concerns.

“By implementing these changes, we hope to see subsequent improvements in staff engagement and wellbeing, work towards further closing our gender and ethnicity pay gaps and improve recruitment and retention of staff at all levels.”

These improvements build on the package of steps taken to improve the pay and reward conditions for our staff at levels 4, 5 and 6 announced earlier this month.

Over the coming weeks HR will be running online Q&A events for level 1-3 staff to ask further questions about the detail of the proposals and we will communicate the times and dates asap.

Initial comments and questions can be emailed to


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