Delivering Equal Pay

UNISON sees collective bargaining as the best way to deliver equal pay to all workers. Taking equal pay cases alone will not solve the gender pay gap. They benefit the individuals who have lodged equal pay claims but do not tackle the underlying causes of gender pay gaps. On the other hand, pay and grading reviews establish where all jobs fit in a structure.

This web page brings together resources for getting the best out of job evaluation and negotiating equal pay proofed pay and grading structures.

Each document is available for download from the resources section at the bottom of the page.

NJC/GLPC Job Evaluation Documents

The term ‘job evaluation’ is sometimes used to cover a whole pay and grading exercise but it is one component.  Job evaluation does not determine grades or pay levels but produces a hierarchy of jobs on which to base a pay structure. JE is a system for comparing the demands of each job and scoring them to produce a rank order of jobs. It applies the same rules to all jobs. In job evaluation, the various demands of a job on a person are separately analysed under different factor headings – such as knowledge and skills, responsibilities, effort and environment. Each of the factors have levels of demand, some more than others. Each level has a score.

Many non job-evaluated grading and pay structures have evolved over time and it can be hard for employers to justify why one job is graded higher than another or paid more. Job evaluation resolves this.The rank order of scored jobs is used to develop a grading structure for basic pay rates to be applied to.  Having JE also deals with grading anomalies and grading appeals. It also deals with jobs which have changed or been restructured over a passage of time.  So job evaluation is flexible. Job evaluation also delivers equal pay for work of equal value which means it is free of gender bias as required by the Equality Act.

NJC Green Book (Download from resources at the bottom of this page)

The NJC for Local Government Services (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) covers the largest group of employees for collective bargaining purposes in the UK economy and possibly Europe.  Over 1.6 million employees have their pay and conditions determined within the national framework negotiated in the NJC. A handbook of NJC agreements is published as the NJC Green Book.

Part 4 of the Green Book contains the NJC Job Evaluation Scheme and User Manual and joint guidance on pay and grading reviews, equal pay audits and equality impact assessments.

NJC Technical Notes (Download from resources at the bottom of this page)

These are all the Technical Notes issued by the NJC Job Evaluation Technical Working Group (JETWG) to date. Although JETWG produced the Technical Notes to help implementers of the NJC scheme, the contents of many relate to good job evaluation practice in general and are not NJC job evaluation scheme specific.  This means they can be read across to the implementation of other JE schemes. The technical notes have the status of Green Book Part 4 joint guidance.

Job Evaluation Model Role Profiles (Download from resources at the bottom of this page)

The NJC has produced a number of advisory job role profiles covering public health, school support, social care and craft roles.

Profiles are an accepted tool of job evaluation to measure jobs. Used properly, profiles can speed up the process of job evaluation because they do not require the completion of detailed questionnaires, which can often be a lengthy process.   Many organisations have developed benchmark profiles for a representative sample of roles against which commonly occurring jobs or emerging jobs are matched.

Jobs can vary widely across authorities, so not every job with the same job title will match to the same profile.  Individual authorities may also have different conventions to reflect local considerations and this can lead to variations in scores between organisations for what appear to be the same job. This is a consequence of local pay and grading structures in local government.

Quality assuring the GLPC JES outcomes (Download from resources at the bottom of this page)

UNISON guidance on consistency checking GLPC JE scores in order to minimise appeals and provide a sound foundation for a pay and grading structure.

Advice on Scheme Boundaries (Download from resources at the bottom of this page)

Advice on where to place a scheme boundary when an employer insists on using two job evaluation schemes for posts below Chief Officer level.

Critiques of JE schemes

Are available from UNISON Local Government  – email

Pay and Grading

Documents relating to establishing and maintaining equal pay proofed pay and grading structures.


NJC Green Book (Download from resources at the bottom of this page)

Part 4 of the Green Book contains joint guidance on pay and grading reviews, equal pay audits and equality impact assessments.

Keeping Pay Equal – NJC Trade Union Side Guide to Local Government Pay and Grading Reviews 2017 edition (Download from resources at the bottom of this page)

The Trade Union Side Guide to Local Government Grading and Pay issued in 2005 had been updated to reflect developments in local government, equality law and key learning points. There are new sections on post single status equal pay auditing, introducing the real Living Wage and dealing with equal pay issues arising from restructuring and reorganisation and employer cuts to conditions.

The guide is intended for use by branches with members in organisations that provide local government related services, including schools. It should be useful for union representatives who are new to local pay and grading reviews.  It is two parts – Part 1 covers negotiating issues and Part 2 legal issues.

The guide aims to demystify the process of grading and pay reviews and to explain the jargon. It takes you through the key technical decisions to be made and the issues likely to arise in carrying out local grading and pay reviews. It sets out best practice and alerts union representatives to the main pitfalls. It is designed to be read in sections as you proceed through a review.

For union representatives who have negotiated pay and grading reviews before, the guide gives technical and legal updates. There have been significant developments in the law that impact on pay and grading. There are also new trends in human resource management relating to employee reward. These have been included in the guide.The updated guide also draws on our experiences of undertaking local grading and pay reviews.

Although there are separate national agreements in Scotland and the rest of the UK, this advice applies equally in Scotland.  The legal principles underpinning the equal pay legislation are identical and those underpinning single status pay and grading reviews are also the same.

Keeping Pay Equal – Online Supplement to Part 2 Equal Pay and the Law (Download from resources at the bottom of this page)

This Guidance is a supplement to NJC Trade Union Side Guidance on Equal Pay and the Law which is in Part 2 of Keeping Pay Equal – NJC Trade Union Side Guide on Pay and Grading Reviews.

The Supplement is intended for lay representatives and paid officials, particularly those closely involved in or supporting union representatives carrying out local grading and pay reviews, such as members of the local negotiating team and full-time officials.

The content goes into more detail on some of the topics covered in Part 2, particularly in relation to the law. It assumes that you have a working knowledge of equal pay and discrimination law i.e. that you are familiar with the key legal concepts and broadly how they apply in practice.

There are some new topics in the Supplement (not included in Part 2) but most sections have a related section in Part 2 which should be read first.

NJC Trade Union Side Guide to Local Government Single Status Reviews – 2005 edition (Download from resources at the bottom of this page)

The predecessor guide to Keeping Pay Equal. Useful for those who have not previously been involved in carrying out a local pay and grading review.

Pay Modelling from a Union Perspective (Download from resources at the bottom of this page)

This UNISON guidance covers frequently asked questions on pay modelling systems

Definitions and significance of Green White and Red Circles (Download from resources at the bottom of this page)

This UNISON technical note clarifies the terms and their significance in assessing pay and grading structures.

Performance Related pay (Download from resources at the bottom of this page)

This UNISON factsheet sets out the background to performance related pay, explores arguments about its value and key issues to consider in negotiating such schemes

Competence Related Pay Progression in the Local Government Sector (Download from resources at the bottom of this page)

This UNISON guidance considers what should be taken into account if employers wish to introduce competency related pay progression

UNISON Training

The Service Group runs training course for activists and paid officials on

Getting the best out of job evaluation.

This one day course covers

  • how to evaluate jobs,
  • selecting benchmark jobs,
  • matching jobs to role profiles,
  • consistency checking JE scores
  • appeals

The course can be tailored to the use of the NJC, GLPC or Hay job evaluation schemes.

Negotiating Equal Pay Proofed Pay and Grading Structures

This one day course covers

  • Analysing the JE results – how many grades?
  • drawing grade boundaries
  • setting the pay structure
  • nature of pay progression
  • additions to basic pay
  • assimilation
  • protection and back pay
  • equality impact assessments
  • signing off procedures

These courses can be combined into a two day course but are probably best done separately to coincide with each stage of a pay and grading review i.e. when preparing for job evaluation and then pay and grading at a later date when preparing for pay modelling.

The Service Group runs tailored courses for UNISON regions locally and national courses at UNISON centre in London. Course places can be reserved via your regional head of local government.

Equal Pay Training

Our job evaluation and pay and grading courses assume attendees have basic knowledge of equal pay law.

UNISON Learning and Organising Services run an introduction to equal pay course which you are recommended to attend before coming on the Local Government Service Group courses.