Employment Law

How to calculate pay deductions for striking staff

How much pay can an employer withhold for a day’s strike by a salaried employer?

According to the Court of Appeal in Hartley v King Edward VI College, the answer is 1/260th. The appeal arose from a County Court claim by three striking teachers who alleged their employer had withheld more pay than it was entitled to, in response to their day’s strike.

The details of the case

The college based its calculation on a notional 5-day week, 52 weeks a year, making the sum 1/260th of the annual salary.

The teachers argued that the nature of their contracts, and section 2 of the Apportionment Act 1870, meant pay accrued equally from day-to-day, and the sum to withhold should have been 1/365th.

However, the Court sided with the college, stating that the sum should be calculated on the basis of the contractual terms and, while the Apportionment Act applied, it didn’t require the principle of equal daily accrual of salary to be applied.

What does all this mean?

This decision shows that calculating deductions for strikes need only focus on working days.

In this case, we can see the college used the calculation for 5 working days a week (Monday-Friday) and 52 weeks in a year, which gives us 260 working days.

The teachers in this case had tried to prove their pay accrued even on days they did not work. So, as the teachers were on strike for one day, using the calculations agreed by the Court of Appeal, the college was correct in deducting 1/260th of their wage.

Have questions about deductions?

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