I am just reading through a Contract of Employment, and under the Notice Period section it states:

Unless your employment is terminated by agreement, or specified otherwise in your principal statement of terms and conditions, you or the Company are required to give a period of notice in writing as follows:

This applies for both employee and employer.

  • During probationary period – 1 week

  • Up to scale PO3 – 4 weeks

  • PO3 and above – 12 weeks

What does this mean? I have searched the entire document and employee handbook but it is not mentioned anywhere else. Given it uses the word "Scale" I am inclined to think it may be a pay band thing, however pay grades are on a completely different scale.

For reference this is public sector, UK city council.

1 Answer 1


It's a pay grade band - PO3 stands for "Principal Officer 3", different councils will have different pay for the different grades but they pretty much all use the same set of bands. The reason you're seeing a different scale for paygrade is that will be the SCP number, which subdivides the band (PO3 should be SCP32 to SCP 35 if I remember correctly)

So the pay band you're in determines the length of the notice period, similar to how more senior staff at private companies have higher pay. It's just more formalised in the public sector. The contract and/or possibly the job advert should have the grade listed for the role, the band is normally set for a given role/position whereas the paygrade within that band that an individual gets is dependent on experience etc.

The council should have a published list of their bandings and their associated grades, so if you've only got the payscale number you can use that to translate back as well.

  • Ah-HA! Thank you, that makes sense. Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 15:33
  • @AlanPartridge no problem - they really don't make it easy to understand sometimes! Sometimes I think they forget that for those on the outside looking in we don't have a clue what they're talking about when they start mentioning things like "SCP" or the "Pay Spine" etc!
    – motosubatsu
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 15:37
  • I also had to google pay spine...! At least it is published somewhere, asking HR what your notice period is might set off some alarms!! Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 15:39

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