# Pay policy

We want everyone to be paid fairly and sustainably for their work and we want the process of how pay is set and changed to be as transparent as possible.

We aim to ensure all employees feel that the pay policy and pay decisions are fair.

While we continue to strive to make pay fair, we all have different perceptions and understandings of what is ‘fair’. We are actively working to remove all inequality due to unconscious bias.

We acknowledge that any system we design is imperfect and we commit to review it in the light of new understandings as they arise, and that any decision made will be made as transparently as possible.

We recognise that in setting pay, issues of power will sometimes be brought to the surface. It is important to try to bring these issues to the surface where they can be carefully studied and negotiated.

# Purpose

The purpose of this policy on pay is to ensure that:

  • The broader aims of the co-op, as documented in this Handbook, are met.
  • There is a friendly and happy working environment for our Members.
  • The aims outlined in our Ethical policy are met, including “opposing all prejudice and discrimination” and promoting “principles of equality of opportunity, an egalitarian system of wealth, ownership, and control, and collective and individual rights”.
  • Members are confident in the decision-making approach to pay.
  • There is an audit trail of how any decision on pay and rewards has been made.
  • Changes to pay and other rewards are achieved in a timely manner.
  • The pay system is in line with our value of sustainability and values the continued operation of the co-operative alongside the needs of its workers to be paid sufficiently.

# Principles

These principles are used to give guidance when agreeing pay. They are intended to be only ‘good enough’. That doesn’t mean they cannot be improved, but we are acknowledging they are guidelines and cannot ever be perfect.

# Equal value of roles

All Members, regardless of role, have the same opportunity to get to the highest pay point.

# Transparency

All aspects of pay, including the principles on which decisions are made, the details of the pay system, the procedure that has been followed, who is making decisions are available to all employees.

# Comparative ratio

No worker shall receive more than three times the annual pay of the lowest paid worker with a permanent contract.

# Length of service

Time served in the company is taken into consideration.

# Sustainability

We want to ensure that the company has the financial ability to pay workers and to continue operating as a business.

# Personal circumstances

Differences in personal circumstances and living arrangements are not taken into account.

# Competitiveness

We want to remain competitive within the marketplace to enable us to attract and retain team members who value working at Agile Collective.

# Balance

The pay system and rewards we offer should offer a balance of financial and non-financial benefits for team members.

# Non-negotiable

We aspire to make pay and rewards independent of an individual’s personal negotiation and influencing skills.

# Pay Circle

We have nominated a number of members to the Pay Circle in order to ensure that this policy is both followed consistently and reviewed regularly.

The Membership of the Pay Circle is voluntary and should comprise a healthy cross-section of the company.

Please see the Pay Circle Aim and Domain (opens new window)

# Pay scale

Our Pay scale consists of 11 points set at regular intervals.

The points on the scale are set by a fixed monetary value based on the difference between highest and lowest pay point, divided by the number of points in the scale.

This means that, in percentage terms, you receive a lower increase as you progress up the scale.

Pay Point 1 is set at least the London Living Wage. As a Living Wage employer, we are committed to changing this whenever the Living Wage Foundation makes a change.

This change to Pay Point 1 has no impact on the other pay points, as they are covered in the annual financial assessment (see below). Pay Point 11 (referred to below as “Full Pay”) was set at £50,000 in April 2019. Note that this is based on 35 hours per week, and so could increase IF a person's hours go above this (which is considered on a case-by-case basis by the People Circle).

We have historically set a ceiling of 35 hours per week as a standard within Agile Collective, as we feel this helps us with our commitment to “promoting and maintaining the wellbeing of all of our employees”. It has also been common practice for our employees to want to work less (rather than more).

There are cases where 40 hours per week can be requested by individuals, this may be due to various reasons such as personal finances or increased workload. It is of importance though that this is a request made by the individual, and should also be considered a temporary change, with monthly reviews in place. The reviews (including the first one on approving the change) would be made by the people circle, who assess:

  1. Is it in the individual's best interest to do these hours (as opposed to being pressured into doing so)?
  2. Would the business benefit from these extra hours (is there enough billable work for example)?
  3. Can the hours be afforded (as our finances are based on a 35 hour per week ceiling across the business)?
  4. Are there preferable solutions to this request (eg. toil, sharing workloads)?

This period should not go on for more than 4 consecutive months without a 1 month break in between.

This request can be made by ALL employees to the People Circle, but should be made with detail as to why it is in everyone's best interest for this to be approved.

# Pay for sole trader members

Pay is calculated as a percentage increase (23%) on the current gross hourly rate. This takes into account the following:

  • holidays
  • estimated sickness and other leave
  • insurance
  • home allowance
  • professional development

Based on the above, we estimated an increase of 17.71%. We have increased this to 23% to acknowledge that sole traders will not receive the same benefits as employees and will, unfortunately, be subject to less job security.

Should the employee pay scales change (reduced or increased), sole trader member pay will be adjusted proportionally to reflect the same change.

# Progression

Every year, those Members and employees who are not already on Full Pay automatically go up 1 point subject to satisfactory performance by the individual.

In exceptional circumstances, an employee may be offered a larger pay rise if the company’s finances allow and the individual’s performance has exceeded expectations. This change happens on the anniversary of their joining date and is limited to one pay increase per financial year per worker.

# Affordability of pay rises

No affordability checks are performed for Members and employees due an automatic 1 point increase. If a rise by an extra point is suggested then the Pay Circle will model the pay increase along with all expected increases in the coming year to ensure they are happy that it won’t materially threaten the continuity of the co-op.

# Satisfactory performance

If any member has critical concerns about your performance they will have the opportunity to bring these to a members meeting which could lead to a deferment of the pay rise.

Two weeks before the date of the automatic incremental increase, the Pay Circle will send out a notice to the members who will have 7 working days to raise a concern about a pay rise. In this case, the Pay Circle will arrange a members meeting to explore the concerns and agree a way forward (including the person concerned, if they are a member).

Ideally, we will have raised concerns with an individual’s performance beforehand through one of the feedback channels, so the possibility of deferment of a rise should not come as a surprise to the individual.

Outcomes of a discussion (flagging concerns) may be:

  1. Approved pay rise as planned.
  2. Approved pay rise, with feedback and requests for specific improvement in the following 12 months.
  3. Deferment of the pay rise, with feedback and requests for specific improvement within an agreed timeline.

Similarly, if a member feels you deserve a raise of more than one point, then they can bring a proposal to members outlining their reasoning.

# Pay review

The pay scales are reviewed every year by the Pay Circle. At the review the circle ensures that Pay Point 1 is not less than the London Living Wage and considers increases to all pay points. This is usually a CPI-based inflationary increase for all scales above Pay Point 1, but may include raises above inflation if we've been particularly profitable or have not been able to offer an increase in previous years.

If the company has been unable to pay rises for 2 consecutive years, then the Members will review the pay scale with a view to reducing our total staff costs in order to enable workers on lower pay points to have a pay increase. This will likely include discussion of lowering the whole pay scale, reducing Full Pay, or other ways to reduce our staff costs. Any decision in this area will be taken by the Members Circle.

# Joining

New starters join at a mutually agreed level. That is, mutually agreed by both the individual during the hiring process and the Members.

The Pay Circle proposes to Members a starting salary at one of the pay points based on their skills, experience and requested starting salary, and taking into consideration the business’s ability to meet those needs.

# Payment of wages

Wages are paid on the last Friday of each calendar month. Wages are paid directly into your bank or building society account. An itemised pay statement showing gross earnings, fixed and variable deductions and net wage will be given to you at the time of each wage statement. Your starting wage is that stated in your written statement of your main terms and conditions of employment.