lack of pay increases

(8 Posts)
notWORKzilla Tue 02-Oct-18 08:14:48

I work in finance. After the birth of my first child I requested P/T hours which were refused, but on my first week back to work they decided that it would work for them for me to have less days in the office. They kept on my maternity cover F/T and I dropped my hours to P/T. I did not feel demoted by this as they gave my mat cover all the more junior workload and I took all the more senior work.

It's an office culture that gives out bounuses. To make it easier to calculate salary when I dropped to 3 days per week, they added my bonus figure to my base salary and used that figure to pro-rata my salary based on the number of days I would then be doing. I also agreed that I would no longer receive a bonus.
This gave me an excellent salary and I'm aware that it's rare to get the level of salary that I do for P/T work.
It also worked to my benefit as the previous year's bonus was high. It has not been as high for others since (this is relevant).

It has now been 4 years since that agreement was made.
My hours have changed again, I now do 4 days instead of 3, but short days. I do 2 more hours across the 4 days than I did over 3 days. My responsibilities have grown and I'm happy with that.
I did request the change to 4 days, but it was agreed to as it suited the office more to have me in for 4 days rather than 3. It does also make my work easier.

The issues are that the COO (who has now left) was not very HR aware and I had to gently argue / explain constantly what I was entitled to in terms of holiday allowance etc before she would see it.
We do not have an in house HR team. Just an external HR consultant who drafts things like contracts. and tbh, I've had to correct some of his work and send links to the gov.uk website to show the COO that the HR person was incorrect and that they were trying to give less than statutory minimums.

I sat down with my COO before they left and spoke to them about salary. I said that my salary had not changed for years and that I felt like I was being penalised for having been on maternity / going P/T. She agreed that the base salaries of the others in the office had increased in that time, but their bonuses had dropped so they were no better off and I was doing well in comparison because of the agreement about salary / bonus.
I was getting nowhere with her and since she was leaving, I dropped it. But it's being annoying me.
My salary is my salary. Surely they should not be thinking of it as "base salary plus bonus - pro rata'd" anymore?
The most recent letter confirming my 4 day week says "your salary will remain at XX per annum"
And if all the others in the office have had pay rises, it's unfair that I haven't?
I have always had fantastic work reviews, never been told that there was an issue with my work or anything else.

I'm going to bring it up with the new COO, but I wanted to get opinions as to whether I'm being unreasonable or not to feel like I'm being treated unfairly.
The other issue is that the hours and pay are good and I know that they would be hard to replicate elsewhere, but if I'm being treated badly in comparison to my colleagues, it's hard for the resentment not to build. I've been at my company for 8.5 years.
It's a small company so no HR team/department to be able to speak to to sound it out without feeling like there are reprucussions if it doesn't go my way.

Thank you for getting to the end of that essay!

OP’s posts: |
MrsPatmore Tue 02-Oct-18 08:57:31

I may not have got the full just of this but won't they say that you need to go back to a similar system as the others ie; normal pay plus any bonus for that year on top? If you are currently getting pay plus a set amount as bonus (whether it's a good year or not) plus asking for a pay rise then they may feel it's unfair to the others.

notWORKzilla Tue 02-Oct-18 09:01:30

valid point, thanks. But can they do that? since my HR contracts/letters now refer to the figure as my salary and not a salary plus fixed bonus.

OP’s posts: |
flowery Tue 02-Oct-18 09:10:36

”She agreed that the base salaries of the others in the office had increased in that time, but their bonuses had dropped so they were no better off and I was doing well in comparison because of the agreement about salary / bonus.”

Do you think that isn’t true then?

notWORKzilla Tue 02-Oct-18 10:51:50

I'm not sure Flowery.
tbh, the bonuses can be pretty mega, so I'd find it hard to imagine the old boys club in here doing any one out of money.

OP’s posts: |
maxelly Tue 02-Oct-18 13:40:08

It's you that's requesting a change here so they can do whatever - you shouldn't end up worse off of course but if you have no contractual entitlement to a pay rise then the terms your employer gives you one on are up for negotiation.

Obviously the not having a bonus but a guaranteed higher salary worked for you at the time - if you now want to change that now fair enough but you may have to accept an element of risk/performance related pay in the form of the rise being as a bonus rather than a fixed part of your base salary. If that's how everyone else's pay works then seems fair enough that yours would too. They should have a fair system for setting and distributing the bonuses based on business performance, employee performance or a combination of both.

Obviously if it's not true that everyone else has only been getting a small bonus/no pay rise and in fact they're been raking it in whilst you sit on the same salary forever then that's a different matter and I understand why you feel aggrieved - but is a different question really?

notWORKzilla Tue 02-Oct-18 19:27:58

Thanks. You’ve definitely given me lots to think about.

I think the problem is that I’m not sure I believe that my colleagues are on lower bonuses and therefore no better off than my circumstances (proportionally)
But it’s not something I’ll be able to prove. I’m just going to have to suck it up and look at the good points about having a job that pays and works with the hours I’d like.

OP’s posts: |
daisychain01 Tue 02-Oct-18 20:39:07

Do you know if your rate of pay has been keeping up with comparative open market rates (pro-rata). Having that objective comparator is more meaningful and indicative than getting caught up with bonuses, colleagues salary rates etc.

All you should care about is whether you are being paid the going rate for the job you do. Anything else is a red herring.

Also don't underestimate the positive values in your role, such as being p/t and the work life balance that brings.

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