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                         Pay Principles for Christian Charities
This resource seeks to illustrate the topics to include in a pay principles policy for a Christian charity and offers a template which can be customized as appropriate, indicated by the highlighted sections of the text. Transparency and fairness, without disclosing individual salaries, is important when it comes to pay levels in any organisation.

Every employer needs a written policy which articulates the principles for pay within the organisation. This acts as a reference point and ensures fairness and transparency for all. The following template provides an outline and highlights the aspects that you will need to tailor to your context.


Template for Pay Principles

  • Our principle is to keep salary structures simple and to pay the same or similar salaries for similar roles.


  • Our pay principles reflect the values of the organisation: List values as appropriate.

  • We aim to remunerate and review remuneration in a fair and transparent way that maintains trust.

  • We will apply the same pay principles for all our staff, regardless of seniority or location. It will include all aspects of remuneration, not just salary. Add reference to any variation eg a London/large city allowance due to higher living costs.

  • Jobs are evaluated by state job titles of those involved or name of committee and state the type of scheme used (eg job evaluation method, a job ranking system, salary bands). Explain in summary how this is structured:

    • Number of salary bands

    • Whether there are incremental steps

    • Summary of how evaluation/assessment/ranking takes place*

    • Where on a salary band new staff will normally be appointed. For example: by the scale and scope of the job description and person specification for the role and to reflect previous earnings and experience. New appointments with less experience than the person specification may initially be appointed to a lower salary with a review after 12 months.

    *A separate document may set out the detail of how the scheme is operated.


  • We will conduct an annual pay review taking into account inflation, what other organisations in and beyond the sector are doing and affordability. Normal practice will be to review the salaries of permanent staff for an increase effective on date each year. Any specific internal anomalies will also normally be addressed at this time. Any other individual salary increases will be as a result of a revised job description which shows increased responsibilities. The amount of the annual increase is approved by eg leadership team, finance committee and board as part of the budget approval process. Leadership team increases are approved by the remuneration committee or board.


  • We benchmark our pay regularly and aim to conduct a full market review every state frequency eg 3 years. We aim to pay the upper quartile/median/lower quartile for comparable organisations eg. national charities with a similar number of staff and level of income.


  • We will factor affordability into any decision to increase staff salaries. Any pay increase must be based on our agreed pay principles and justifiable to our trustees, staff, and supporters.


  • We aim to pay at least the current rate of living wage to all staff.


  • Exceptions: it is recognised that there will occasionally be circumstances where a particular profession or skill set may command a salary that is not adequately reflected in the salary scales; particularly when employment markets place particular skills at a premium. In order to enable recruitment and retention of such skills, it may be appropriate on these occasions to apply a market premium. This usually occurs at the time of appointment to the role where the particular specialism or skill set may be difficult to attract or acquire. Any decision to apply a market premium must be validated by suitable comparable market data and evidence of the benchmarking must be documented by state job title and approved by state job titles and/or board or relevant subcommittee.


  • All qualifying staff are offered the opportunity to join the pension scheme.


  • We aim to support staff to balance home and work commitments and have a range of benefits to facilitate that. These are kept under regular review. A copy of current benefits is held in the staff handbook. Any changes will be approved by job titles and/or board or relevant subcommittee.


Approval and communication

The policy should be approved and owned/championed by leadership team/finance committee/remuneration committee/board as appropriate in your context. It should be reviewed every three years.


The existence of the organisation’s pay principles should be communicated to staff at recruitment and when annual salary reviews are notified.


The pay principles should be included in the staff handbook or intranet.



Author and copyright: Helen Calder 2019

Peer reviewed by Kent Beasley

Management Meeting
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