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The Scottish Joint Council payscales: where did they come from and where have they gone?

Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

If you work in the third sector you will doubtless be aware of the Scottish Joint Council (SJC) Payscales and recent concerns regarding their continuation.

In 1999 it was agreed that SJC would work with the third sector to unify the terms and conditions of administrative, professional, technical and clerical staff. At the same time, COSLA (the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) devised a payscale for the SJC which was published by SCVO (Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations) on an annual basis as a service to the third sector. 

The SJC payscales were adopted by many third sector organisations, relying on SCVO to publish updated scales. However, earlier this year SCVO announced that it would stop publishing the scales. The announcement was not particularly clear and some organisations interpreted the message to mean that the scales were going to be abolished altogether.  

However, in reality SCVO were simply announcing that they were no longer going to publish the scales on their website. The scales themselves have always been produced by COSLA and SCVO have only been publishing the scales as a goodwill gesture to the third sector. SCVO can no longer guarantee that they can always obtain the scales from COSLA; therefore they have encouraged all third sector organisations that rely on the scales to seek them from COSLA directly.  

Therefore if your employment contracts tie your organisation into the SJC payscales then you can still follow the scales supplied by COSLA. However if your contracts tie you into the Local Authority scales then you should speak to your Local Authority for more information. 

These recent discussions have prompted some third sector organisations to reconsider their payscales and whether it is still appropriate to follow the SJC.  The unified SJC payscales may work for some organisations but not all, and without paying close attention to the differences of your own organisation you could potentially fall into an equal pay dispute. 

If you are concerned about this, Law At Work can conduct an Equal Pay Audit or review your scales as part of an HR Project. If you would like further information please contact your Legal Manager.

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