28 March 2023

These questions and answers provide further information on the Public Service Pay Guidance.

Which agencies does the Guidance cover?

The Guidance applies to Public Service departments and departmental agencies. The Public Service Commissioner has asked other public sector agencies, including the health and education sectors, to take the same approach as outlined in the Guidance to their pay decisions.

What does progression mean?

Progression is the movement of an individual through the pay band that applies to their role. Criteria for such increase could include, for example, performance, competency or tenure.

Are staff on IEAs also entitled to progression under the Guidance?

Yes, if that is provided for in their employment agreement.

Can someone on an individual employment agreement get a pay rise?

Those with IEAs linked to a collective agreement can access a pay rise in the same way as those as those on collective agreements. Those on IEAs not linked to a collective agreement should be considered for pay rises in accordance with the Guidance. Agencies should consult with PSPA Guidance for advice on how to apply PSPA to their IEA workers.

Will pay increases that have already been agreed be delivered?

Yes. Pay increases that have already been agreed in settled collective agreements will be honoured.

What does the Guidance mean for pay equity claims?

Pay equity claims will continue to be progressed and at an accelerated rate.

Will the Guidance have any impact on the work to close the gender and ethnic pay gaps?

It will help to focus attention on closing these gaps as it prioritises addressing gender and ethnic pay inequities.

Does the new Pay Guidance indicate that the Public Sector Pay Adjustment (PSPA) is now closed?

No, the Pay Guidance is designed to aid agencies who are out of scope or whose unions have opted out of the PSPA. The PSPA is still live, is the basis of a number of agencies bargaining, and is forming the basis of a number of variations being discussed through the system.

Does the new Pay Guidance undermine the PSPA?

It is designed to compliment the PSPA, allowing agencies to introduce elements of the PSPA within their own bargaining whilst continuing to demonstrate moderation in applying pay adjustments. It is noted that the Guidance envisages that the PSPA amounts would represent the maximum increase.

Can agencies opt-out of the PSPA and adopt Pay Guidance?

It really depends. Whilst the Public Service has committed itself to the PSPA, some of it’s collective employment agreements are out of scope, and would be subject to pay guidance when they begin bargaining. Other organisations, such as Crown entities, for example, have more leeway in their decision making, and may choose to opt-out. Also, it is worthwhile noting that union partners may choose to opt out of the PSPA, which will impact an agency’s bargaining position and any potential offer they may consider.

Can we bargain under Pay Guidance and retain some of the elements of the PSPA, discarding the rest?

Yes, noting that the PSPA amounts are the Guidance’s outer limits of what the Commissioner considers appropriate, and that the PSPA increases have effective dates ‘baked in’ to the offer. These effective dates are exclusive to PSPA offers. Agencies bargaining under Pay Guidance should be mindful of the Government expectations on backdating.