Public Sector: Pay

Treasury written question – answered on 1st December 2020.

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Photo of Tonia Antoniazzi Tonia Antoniazzi Labour, Gower

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his oral contribution of 25 November 2020, Official Report column 828, on public sector workers who earn below the median wage of £24,000 being guaranteed a pay rise of at least £250, on what basis that median wage estimate was calculated.

Photo of Tonia Antoniazzi Tonia Antoniazzi Labour, Gower

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his oral contribution of 25 November 2020, Official Report column 828, on 2.1 million public sector workers who earn below the median wage of £24,000 being guaranteed a pay rise of at least £250, on what basis that 2.1 million figure was calculated; and whether that figure is inclusive of local government workers.

Photo of Steve Barclay Steve Barclay The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

The Office for National Statistic’s ‘Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings’ (ASHE) shows that median basic weekly pay for the public sector is £504. This suggests that just under half of the public sector have basic weekly pay of £460 (whole economy median weekly basic pay) and less.

Since the uplift will be applied on a Full Time Equivalent (FTE) basis, we have used ASHE microdata to also exclude those earning less than the median but not on an hourly basis. This showed that 38% of the public sector earn less than £24,000 on an FTE basis.

The Office for National Statistics estimate that public sector employment was 5.51 million in June 2020. This includes: The National Health Service, central government and local government.

Sources: Table 13.a at https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/datasets/publicandprivatesectorashetable13

ONS Public sector employment, UK: June 2020: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/publicsectorpersonnel/bulletins/publicsectoremployment/june2020

The £24,000 earnings floor is taken from the Office for National Statistic’s ‘Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings’. This data gives whole economy median basic weekly earnings for all employees of £460. The equivalent annually is £23,985 (calculated by dividing by 7 days a week, and multiplying by 365 days a year).

Source: Table 1.3a at https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/datasets/allemployeesashetable1

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