We want everyone to be paid fairly and sustainably for their work and we want the process of how pay is set and changed to be as transparent as possible.

We aim to ensure all employees feel that the pay policy and pay decisions are fair. While we continue to strive to make pay fair, we all have different perceptions and understandings of what is ‘fair’. We are actively working to remove all inequality due to unconscious bias.

We acknowledge that any system we design is imperfect and we commit to review it in the light of new understandings as they arise, and that any decision made will be made as transparently as possible.

We recognise that in setting pay, issues of power will sometimes be brought to the surface. It is important to try to bring these issues to the surface where they can be carefully studied and negotiated.


The purpose of this policy on pay is to ensure that:

  • The broader aims of the co-op, as documented in this Handbook, are met.
  • There is a friendly and happy working environment for our Members.
  • Members are confident in the decision-making approach to pay.
  • There is an audit trail of how any decision on pay and rewards has been made.
  • Changes to pay and other rewards are achieved in a timely manner.
  • The pay system is in line with our value of sustainability and values the continued operation of the co-operative alongside the needs of its workers to be paid sufficiently.


These principles are used to give guidance when agreeing pay. They are intended to be only ‘good enough’. That doesn’t mean they cannot be improved, but we are acknowledging they are guidelines and cannot ever be perfect.

Equal value of roles

All Members, regardless of role, have the same opportunity to get to the highest pay point.


All aspects of pay, including the principles on which decisions are made, the details of the pay system, the procedure that has been followed and who is making decisions, are available to all employees.

Comparative ratio

No worker shall receive more than two times the annual pay of the lowest paid worker with a permanent contract.

Length of service

Time served in the company is taken into consideration.


We want to ensure that the company has the financial ability to pay workers and to continue operating as a business.

Personal circumstances

Differences in personal circumstances and living arrangements are not taken into account.


We want to remain competitive within the marketplace to enable us to attract and retain team members who value working at Common Knowledge.


The pay system and rewards we offer should offer a balance of financial and non-financial benefits for team members.


We aspire to make pay and rewards independent of an individual’s personal negotiation and influencing skills.

Pay scale

Our Pay scale consists of 13 points set at regular intervals. At the time of writing, this amounts to £2,000 per point.

The points on the scale are set by a fixed monetary value based on the difference between highest and lowest pay point, divided by the number of points in the scale. This means that, in percentage terms, you receive a lower increase as you progress up the scale.

Pay Point 1 is set to 11.6% above the London Living Wage (£23,302.50 per year at the time of writing). As a Living Wage employer, we are committed to changing this whenever the Living Wage Foundation makes a change.

Pay Point 11 (referred to below as “Full Pay”) was set at £50,000 in November 2023. This is based on 32 hours per week, which is the maximum amount of hours Members can work per week. We feel that setting this ceiling helps us with our commitment to “promoting and maintaining the wellbeing of all of our employees”. It has also been common practice for our employees to want to work less (rather than more).

Pay Point Amount (January 2024)
1 £26,000
2 £28,000
3 £30,000
4 £32,000
5 £34,000
6 £36,000
7 £38,000
8 £40,000
9 £42,000
10 £44,000
11 £46,000
12 £48,000
13 £50,000

Pay for freelance members

While we encourage all Members who live in the UK to be PAYE employees of the company, members who live outside of the UK need to be freelancers.

Freelance Members get paid equivalent to PAYE Members, which is £281 per day at the time of writing. Freelance members are also entitled to 30 days holidays per year, but they don’t invoice for this — it’s reflected in their higher day rate. Freelancers can invoice for up to 8 days paid sick pay per year.

Professional development can be done on company time and is invoiced accordingly. Freelancers are responsible for their own insurance, accountancy costs and home working set-up.

If employee Member pay scales change, freelancer Member pay will be adjusted proportionally.


Every year on 1 April, those Members and employees who are not already on Full Pay automatically go up 1 point, subject to satisfactory performance by the individual.

In exceptional circumstances, an employee may be offered a larger pay rise if the company’s finances allow and the individual’s performance has exceeded expectations. This change happens on the anniversary of their joining date and is limited to one pay increase per financial year per worker.

Affordability of pay rises

The steward of Financial Administration needs to model the affordability of these automatic pay rises. If the pay rises will materially threaten the affordability of the co-op, the steward should communicate this to the rest of the co-op before 1 March.

Satisfactory performance

If any Member has critical concerns about your performance they will have the opportunity to bring these to a Members Meeting which could lead to a deferment of the pay rise.

Two weeks before the date of the automatic incremental increase, the Financial Administration steward will send out a notice to all Members who will have 7 working days to raise a concern about a pay rise. In this case, the steward will arrange a Members Meeting to explore the concerns and agree a way forward (including the person concerned, if they are a Member).

Ideally, we will have raised concerns with an individual’s performance beforehand through one of the feedback channels, so the possibility of deferment of a rise should not come as a surprise to the individual.

Outcomes of a discussion (flagging concerns) may be:

  1. Approved pay rise as planned.
  2. Approved pay rise, with feedback and requests for specific improvement in the following 12 months.
  3. Deferment of the pay rise, with feedback and requests for specific improvement within an agreed timeline.

Similarly, if a Member feels you deserve a raise of more than one point, then they can bring a proposal to Members outlining their reasoning.

Pay review

At a minimum of one calendar year after the last change to salaries, Members will review the pay scales. At the review Members need to ensure that Pay Point 1 is not less than the London Living Wage and considers increases to all pay points.

Members may vote on a motion to increase all salaries in line with the CPI (Consumer Price Index). If CPI is negative, then no pay change will be proposed. If CPI is above 5%, then the value of the change should be discussed before a proposal is brought for voting.

If the company has been unable to pay rises for 2 consecutive years, then the Members will review the pay scale with a view to reducing our total staff costs in order to enable workers on lower pay points to have a pay increase. This will likely include discussion of lowering the whole pay scale, reducing Full Pay, or other ways to reduce our staff costs. Any decision in this area will be taken by all Members.


New starters join at a mutually agreed level. That is, mutually agreed by both the individual during the hiring process and the Members.

Payment of wages

Wages are paid on the last Thursday of each calendar month. Wages are paid directly into your bank or building society account. An itemised pay statement showing gross earnings, fixed and variable deductions and net wage will be given to you at the time of each wage statement. Your starting wage is stated in your contract.

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