Rewarding Contribution Grades 2 to 9 - Pay Structure

The University’s substantive pay and grading structure comprises: the normal pay progression range and the Contribution Zone, albeit the length of the pay ranges and the number of increments varies across the grades.

As a member of staff progresses through the grade, there is an expectation that their contribution will be greater in light of the additional skills and experience gained whilst in the role. This is reflected in objective setting and in the expectations of delivery in the role.

The University's Substansive Pay and Grading Structure



1. Principles of Pay Progression

Transparent processes provide staff with opportunities for progression:

  • New entrants are recruited at the bottom or towards the lower end of the Pay Progression Range, in Grades 3 to 9 only. Grade 2 is a spot salary with no scope for salary progression.
  • Progression within each grade rewards the acquisition of experience, skill and contribution.
  • Staff have a normal expectation that progression from point to point up to the contribution threshold will take place on an annual basis, subject to satisfactory performance.
  • Accelerated progression, including progression into the contribution range will reflect sustained exceptional contribution by the job holder.
  • If the role holder sits within the normal pay range, progression for sustained contribution will be in addition to standard progression from point to point through the normal range.

2. Rewarding Contribution - Key Principles

Each unit head, informed by feedback from reviewers within their unit, will determine (in conjunction with the relevant VP/HoC/COO where appropriate) those colleagues within their respective teams on grades 2-9 of the substantive pay and grading structure for whom additional recognition and reward is merited.

2.1 If the member of staff is in the normal pay progression range for their grade, then any accelerated incremental pay rise would  be one increment point. Such an award would not affect normal progression arrangements and would be limited to the normal pay scale maximum.

2.2 If the member of staff is at the top of their grade or within the contribution range for their grade, normal incremental  progression will no longer automatically applicable, and therefore an accelerated incremental pay rise will allow for progression of one point within the contribution zone. Staff will not progress further through the contribution range unless they are awarded another additional increment in subsequent years. In these circumstances, the member of staff and their line manager should actively explore options for career progression. 

2.3 Since normal incremental pay progression already reflects an expectation of continuous performance and growth in role, for record keeping purposes and audit purposes, any cases for accelerated incremental pay progression must be articulated in a brief written submission with headline supporting information on how contribution has exceeded these expectations and that this exceptional level of performance has been sustained.

2.4 It is both reasonable and consistent for managers to have a higher expectation of someone working at the top of the grade than someone at entry point of the grade to reflect the greater levels of skills and experience at the higher points of the grade.

2.5 Any annual reward that may be applied as outlined by the provisions above, will not be payable in addition to any out-of-cycle pay increase awarded in year.

3 Rewarding Sustained Exceptional Contribution

Following the closure of the PDR round each year, it is the responsibility of each unit head to liaise with their relevant senior executive team (or sub-group thereof) to identify cases of exceptional performance, beyond normal role and/or grade expectations, and to recognise contribution with respect to quality and quantity. These deliberations will be informed by feedback from the relevant sub-group head (with requisite visibility of the PDR commentary) in providing a fuller sense of each role and contribution in scope, subject to the following principles:

  • Recognition will be through continued and consistent contribution which is regularly above the performance expectations of the role.
  • Managers must remain aware of the contributions made by all their staff so that they can identify where applications for awards may be appropriate.
  • Decision making, at management discretion, will be robust, fair, consistent and objective.
  • A University wide review of outcomes will be undertaken annually with the aim of informing the equality and fairness of the application of pay progression in the future.

3.1 Criteria

Contribution must have been sustained over a 12 to 24 months’ timeframe, with evidence of continuous working at this level. The evidence may include but will not be limited to:

  • attainment of agreed longer-term objective(s) to a consistently exceptional standard positively impacting on the University, the College/School or Service.
  • provision of an exceptionally high standard of customer-service, with demonstrable impact on the service provided, and/or the reputation of the University, the College or the School or Service.
  • exceptional achievement(s) that have demonstrably resulted in an enhanced level of contribution within the existing grade.
  • taking on significant additional responsibility on an ongoing basis where the level of responsibility continues to fall within the current grade and for which no other form of payment has beem received.


4 Rewarding Exceptional Contribution (Non-consolidated awards)

Non-consolidated awards can be an appropriate form of acknowledgement when staff have worked over and above their role to support a one-off task or project that is finite by nature. Non-consolidated awards are one-off, non-superannuable, lump sum payments, typically a flat-rated amount to minimise grade drift / salary differentials within particular subject disciplines across the University.

4.1 Criteria

Contribution at an individual or team level will normally relate to a one-off project or major task that is finite in nature. The evidence may include, but is not limited to:

  • assumption of significant additional responsibilities not recognised by any other awards.
  • demonstrating exceptional flexibility which contributed directly to the achievement of University, College/School/Service objectives (this should not be interpreted as working additional hours).
  • significant contribution to successful delivery of strategic/critical project or task in the context of the University’s transformational change agenda.
  • outstanding or innovative delivery that have led to greater efficiency in a challenging year.
  • improved quality, cost savings, etc., and which contributed to the achievement of University, College/School/Service objectives.
  • Contribution for demonstrating behaviours which exemplify at least one of the University’s strategic values.


5 Team Awards

The University recognises that in some cases it is the collective contribution of staff that merits reward rather than any one individual. Team based recognition will be applied as one-off payments administered in accordance with the voucher scheme arrangements.

6 Early Career Development Programme

Whilst the PDR process results in a performance rating for staff participating on the Early Career Development Programme (ECDP), there is no automatic entitlement to either a one-off payment or consolidated salary increase in recognition of an exceptional rating. All University staff will be treated equitably and decision making with respect to contribution will be robust, fair, consistent and objective in line with the principles set out in this policy.

7 Unconscious Bias

A clear and reasoned rationale for every decision made should mitigate against bias or instinct taking over. College CMGs/University Services PSG must therefore ensure that all reward-related decisions are evidence-based and that staff involved in decision making have completed the Understanding Unconscious Bias online course.

8 Outcome Notification and Feedback

 The relevant People & OD teams will communicate successful outcomes.

9 Timetable



College/School/University Services Management Teams consider Rewarding Contribution Cases   09/10/2023
Decision Making College/School/Professional Services Meetings  13/11/2023
Outcomes notified to PPR Team  17/11/2023
Notification of outcomes to reward recipients  15/12/2023
Payment date of non-consolidated payments  December Payroll
Effective date of consolidated increments  01/01/2024