Recruitment and Retention Premia Policy

1. Introduction

1.1 Aberystwyth University is committed to the principles of equal pay for work of equal value, and uses the HERA job evaluation scheme to determine the relative value of all posts, in Grades 1 to 9, which are covered by the Framework Agreement. The University does acknowledge, however, that there may be occasions where the total reward package offered for particular posts may not be as competitive as those offered in the wider labour market, leading to recruitment and retention difficulties. In such cases the University may need to supplement pay rates for some staff because role analysis does not take account of labour markets where people with scarce skills and expertise in short supply can command a relatively higher salary.

1.2 There are limited occasions where a market supplement is the most effective course of action to address a recruitment or retention issue, and indeed it will be very rare for market supplement payments to be made.  Recruitment and retention problems are often caused by factors other than pay and should always be addressed in the first instance.

1.3 Requests will need to demonstrate what recruitment problems apply and the consequences of non-appointment and/or demonstrate evidence of long standing retention difficulties that are directly linked to pay.  Market data relating to the labour market and competitive salary data will need to demonstrate the recruitment difficulty, exit data and pay data will normally be needed to demonstrate a case for retention difficulties. 

1.4 Objective evidence is more than a belief that there are recruitment or retention difficulties.  Normally data from more than one published source should be used and, where possible, supplemented by information from other sources. 

2. Aims and objectives of the Policy

2.1 This policy and the accompanying procedures have been designed to ensure that the University:

  • Is able to recruit and retain the best staff for each post
  • Complies with equal pay legislation and aims for best practice in its reward policy
  • Considers other potential issues and mechanisms to achieve effective recruitment and retention of staff
  • Ensures through the initial application and review process that the application of a market supplement does not erode or replace any aspect of the new grade structure and remains relevant, necessary and objectively evidenced
  • Where market conditions so demand, the University will seek to award additional payments to achieve effective recruitment and retention in a fair, consistent, transparent and robust manner
  • This policy does not enable chairs of recruitment panels to make a decision following interview to exceed the grading of a role to attract a particular candidate

3. Application of the policy

3.1 This policy and procedure applies to all current and prospective members of staff including those on fixed term contracts where a case is successfully made for the application of a market supplement in respect of a particular post.

3.2 The policy may be applied when a recruitment campaign has not resulted in an appointment because the pay rate was not competitive, where there is evidence that a recruitment campaign will not succeed because the pay rate will not be competitive or when there is evidence of skilled staff leaving or being approached to leave for similar jobs with a higher rate of pay.

3.3 Recruitment and Retention Premia will apply to all directly comparable posts as agreed by Human Resources and will be paid pro-rata for part-time staff. All employees entitled to a market supplement will be provided with a written statement detailing the amount of the supplement, its duration and the review periods.

4. Definitions

4.1What is a market-related payment?

4.1.1 A market related payment is an addition to salary and/or other benefits for a specific individual post, or group or sub group of posts and applies to all holders of the defined post or posts. It is paid where higher rates of pay offered by other employers (the market rate) prevent the University from being able to recruit or retain staff on the salary indicated for their role by role analysis alone.

4.1.2 The payments apply to posts on a one-off (lump sum) or a temporary basis.

4.2 Types of Recruitment and Retention Premia

4.2.1 The University operates two types of payment which may be considered to overcome demonstrable recruitment and retention problems. These are: Lump sum payment which is a payment to aid in the initial attraction of staff to a particular role. They can be made as either a one-off payment or in several stages over an initial period of employment. These types of payment can be used to facilitate the recruitment of a particular group or groups of staff e.g. staff who may not typically enter the sector, new teaching staff, graduate/postgraduate students. An ongoing recruitment or retention premium paid in addition to the individual’s basic salary in order to bring the total annual salary for the role up to the market rate. These will be paid for a specific fixed-term and be subject to annual review thereafter.  These types of payment can be used where there is either a specific issue in the labour market which is expected to be for a defined term or when the issue is more fundamental and potentially long term.

5. General Provisions

5.1 Recruitment and retention premia will only be awarded where there is clear evidence that recruitment and retention difficulties are caused by the University pay rate for the grade of the role, as determined by role analysis, being low relative to that offered by other employers for similar posts.

5.2 Applications for the payment of a recruitment and retention premium and the review of current payments must follow the procedure and checklists associated with this policy.

5.3 Recruitment and retention premia will usually be expressed as gross cash sums and will be separately identifiable from any other components of pay.  The payment will be included for the purposes of calculating deductions (both statutory and non-statutory), additional payments or contractual entitlements.

5.4 Where an ongoing premium is applied to a role the value will usually be determined by the difference between the value of the highest automatic incremental point of the grade (including the value of allowances and other benefits) and the median market rate. This will be determined by evidence from appropriate sources which will usually include relevant UCEA survey data and information from ECC’s labour market data service as a minimum. Where the calculated difference is less than 10% of the highest automatic incremental point of the grade no premia will usually be paid.

5.5 Where a lump sum payment is agreed the value shall not exceed the annual value of an equivalent ongoing premia calculated using the mechanism described in 5.4 above.

5.6 All premia payments and reviews of such payments will be agreed by Planning Group or SMT following the procedures outlined. However, in exceptional circumstances where there is a prima facie case or a need for an urgent decision, the Vice Chancellor has executive authority to make a decision without the need for recourse to Planning Group or SMT

5.7 The review should be conducted by Planning Group/SMT in advance of the cessation of current arrangements. 

5.8 Based on the evidence presented to Planning Group/SMT, a review may result in an increase in the premia, a reduction or a complete withdrawal.

5.9 An increase in the market premium will be applied from the 1st of the month following the review’s conclusion or on expiry of the current arrangements.

5.10 When the review results in a reduction or withdrawal of the premium and this reduction or removal would result in a decrease in the individual’s total pay, 3 months notice will be given after the review’s conclusion of the University’s intention to reduce or withdraw the premium. The premium may then be reduced or withdrawn in stages over a period of up to a further 3 months.

5.11 Where a member of staff moves to a different post that does not attract a recruitment and retention premium, their entitlement to that payment will cease from the date they take up the new post.

5.12 In the event that a member of staff is redeployed to a post that does not attract a recruitment and retention premium, their entitlement to that payment will be withdrawn in line with the agreed notice and protection periods quoted in 5.9 above.

5.13 Lump sum payments will not be pensionable.

5.14 Staff may choose for ongoing payments to be made pensionable.  The University recognises that although these payments are not part of basic pay and may be withdrawn, given their indefinite nature the individual may in some cases wish the market rate to be reflected for final salary purposes.

5.15 Where a member of staff has received a lump sum payment and leaves the University within two years of that premium being awarded they will be required to reimburse the full amount already paid to them.

5.16 The amount of the recruitment and retention premia will not be varied except through the review process.

6. Monitoring

6.1 The Director of Human Resources will co-ordinate a review of the University’s Recruitment and Retention Policy on an annual basis to maintain compliance with legislation and good practice.

6.2 The review will be undertaken in liaison with the recognised trade unions and any proposed amendments will be submitted to Staffing Committee for approval.

6.3 Data on recruitment and retention premia payments, including lump sum payments, will be compiled and reviewed annually by the HR department for equal opportunities monitoring purposes and for presentation to the Staffing Committee.  

6.4 Information compiled for monitoring purposes will be shared annually with the recognised campus trade unions and consultation will take place to enable the effectiveness of this policy and its application to be reviewed.

6.5 The University is committed to embedding the Single Equality Scheme into its policies, procedures and practices. This policy has been equality impact assessed in accordance with this scheme.