In the UK, if you are an ‘employee’, how much you are paid is governed by your contract of employment. The government sets minimum levels of pay which apply to most people – the National Living Wage, (or the National Minimum Wage if you are under the age of 25), but otherwise, what you receive will be set by your employer unless you have been able to negotiate your rate of pay when you started your employment. Once you’ve been working for a while, you may feel that you should be paid more. Whatever your reasons for asking for a pay rise, here are some tips to help you.

how to apply for a pay rise at work Prepare your case

Think about how you will present your case for a pay rise. Don’t just ask for a pay rise out of the blue. Spend some time thinking about what you want and what you will say. Do some research to find out what other people are paid, both within your company and in other companies in the same industry, to make sure what you are asking for is reasonable.

Think about why your boss could give you a pay rise

Although you may have financial pressures to meet at home, it is better to put your request for a pay rise in the context of your performance at work and the value you are adding to the company. Perhaps you have noticed that other people doing similar work are being paid more than you, or maybe you have been carrying out extra tasks. If you aren’t being paid according to the minimums specified by the UK government, you could also point this out to your employer.

Choose a good time

Asking for a pay rise can be nerve-wracking. Choose a good time to have the discussion. Avoid Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. Otherwise, you will have an idea of when are busy times and when your boss is likely to have more time and be more relaxed. These would be better times to choose for a discussion about your pay. Don’t ask too often, either.

Suggest a neutral place

You may feel more comfortable if you can have the discussion away from work – in a nearby café perhaps.

Think about what you really want

If it really is just a pay rise you want, then that’s what you should ask for. On the other hand, you may be looking for some sort of recognition that could be met in other ways. This could be a company car, access to a private health scheme or gym membership. Another option would be to look at ways flexible working could help. If you could work from home a couple of days a week, or change your hours so you travel during off peak times and save on travel costs, this might be an option. Remember that your employer may not be able to give you a ‘pay rise’ as such, but may be able to offer you other benefits.

Stay calm!

Perhaps the best advice we can give you is to stay calm. You may want a pay rise, but you are unlikely to achieve this if you lose your temper or display your frustration to your boss. Ultimately, this may be the trigger you need to try and look for other work, but in the meantime, you will want to keep the job you have until you’ve found a new one where you are valued.

If your employer is not paying you the National Living Wage, or you discover that you are being paid less than others doing the same or similar roles, and that this might be because of your nationality or your gender, you might wish to consider taking legal action. This isn’t something to be taken lightly, but we can advise you on your rights and help you think through your options. Get in touch to talk to someone today.

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Catherine Reynolds
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