Local Government Employment Review: Employer was entitled to deduct one working day's pay for a one-day strike

The Court of Appeal has held that an employer was entitled to deduct one working day’s pay when its employees went on a one-day strike.

The employees, in this case, were teachers. Their contracts of employment specified their working days to be Monday to Friday, although they carried out additional tasks such as marking and preparing lessons in their own time, such as evenings and weekends.

They went on a one-day strike and their employer deducted one day’s pay from their wages calculated at a daily rate of 1/260 of their annual salary. This was based on the fact they were contracted to work 5 days a week (5 x 52 weeks a year = 260  working days a year).

The employees argued that the deduction should have been based on a rate of 1/365 (based on calendar days) as their salary accrued day to day at an equal daily rate.

After losing a claim in the County Court they appealed to the Court of Appeal.

Dismissing the appeal the Court of Appeal said that even though an employee’s salary accrues day to day that does not necessarily mean that salary accrues at an equal rate daily over a calendar year. It said that in this case, as the contracts specified working days, the employer was entitled to only take the 260 working days in the year into account when calculating the daily rate at which to withhold salary.

Case reference: Hartley & Others v King Edward VI College

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