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deductions for strike action at the rate of one working day

22 May 2015

An employer does not have to pay employees who strike for those periods they are not working. So, how much pay should be deducted?

The Court of Appeal decided that, where an employee takes part in a one-day strike, the employer is entitled to withhold one working day's pay rather than one calendar day where working days are defined in the employment contract.

This case involved college teachers who had gone on strike. The teachers’ working days were Monday to Friday according to their contracts. The employer deducted one day’s pay at a rate of 1/260 of salary (5 days per week x 52 weeks per year). The teachers argued that the rate should have been 1/365 of salary (one calendar day). The court dismissed this and confirmed that the correct rate was 1/260.

This is helpful for employers, as calculations based on working days (as specified in a contract of employment) arguably better reflects the working time that has been lost due to strikes.

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