04 June 2015 #Employment
If employees take strike action their pay is withheld for the time that they do not work. How should the amount of pay which is withheld be calculated?
This was determined in the case of Hartley v King Edward VI College  EWCA Civ 455. Three teachers had taken industrial action for one day. They accepted that their pay would be withheld, but did not agree with the way that the amount had been calculated. The employer had worked on the basis that the teachers had not worked for one day of a 5 day week over 52 weeks. Hence, they had deducted 1/260th from the teachers’ pay. The teachers argued that the Apportionment Act 1870 meant that pay accrued equally each day, and hence the amount that should be withheld was 1/365th of their pay, resulting in a smaller deduction.
The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the employer. Whilst salary accrued daily it held this did not necessarily mean it accrued at an equal daily rate, and the terms of an employment contract could displace this presumption as it did in the present case. The correct approach is to look at the employment contract and where it defines the days that the employees are contracted to work. Employers can use this as a basis for calculating the deductions that should be made.
Forbury People Consultant