“I have worked at my current practice for eight years. I last had a pay rise five years ago; but I know that other nurses in the practice, who have worked here for less time, have had a couple of pay rises over the last three years! How do I broach this subject – I have taken on extra responsibility over the years, but for no reward!”

You need to prepare before you approach whoever holds the purse strings!

You could make a job specification for what duties you carried out five years ago, when you last received a pay rise, and one for the duties you presently carry out. Highlight the differences and extra responsibilities which you now have and the extra value you are bringing to the practice.

If you have completed any vocational training over that period of time, don’t forget to list this as well.

Arrange to speak with the veterinary principal/partner or practice manager at a convenient time when neither of you needs to rush off and you can both devote proper time to the issue. Be reasonable and let them know that you appreciate the financial constraints of the practice; but also put forward how much more you are doing for the practice now.

If possible, collect relevant comparable local salary information from friends who work at other practices.

Don’t expect a decision on the spot. They will need time to digest your information; but do ask them to state when they will get back to you – say a week – and don’t be afraid to chase the decision, if necessary. It is important that you do not take a stance of blackmailing your employer, so an objective evaluation of your worth is necessary.

You might want to suggest your practice adopts an appraisal process in the future; perhaps with a reward system to be incorporated into it. A yearly appraisal for all members of staff – to which any pay rise might be aligned – would be a fairer system for all. 

For further support with this or any other HR issue, BVNA members can call the BVNA IRS Helpline on 01822 870270 or e-mail nicky.ackerley@hrsupportconsultancy.co.uk


Nicky Ackerley BA(HONS)

Nicky Ackerley HR Support is owned by Nicky Ackerley who has a BA (Hons) Business Studies Degree, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and who has been a practising HR manager for over 20 years. HR Support Consultancy has provided the BVNA's Industrial Relations Service since it began in 2002.


VOL 28 • December 2013 • Veterinary Nursing Journal