Average Pay on Annual Leave (Holiday Pay) in Royal Mail Group – Joint Statement for Back Pay Arrangements
Further to LTB 370/21 that was circulated on 6th September 2021, Branches and Representatives will be aware of the ongoing talks to agree with Royal Mail Group the definitive dates for back pay for those members who are weekly paid as well as those who receive a monthly salary.
Branches will recall that back pay is dependent on individual members having withdrawn their Employment Tribunal cases and meeting the agreed qualifying criteria as contained in the national agreement. To put this into context, there were over 6,000 Employment Tribunal cases in England and Wales alone as well as the additional claims in Scotland and Northern Ireland which related to average pay on annual leave.
Following the endorsement of the national agreement and in line with the Court order, every member who had submitted an Employment Tribunal claim was written to by the Legal Services Department. The letter asked them to indicate whether they wish to withdraw their case and therefore be included in the back pay calculation or whether they would rather proceed with the case on their own.
Following the initial letter, circa 2,500 members agreed to withdraw their claims with a small minority indicating that they wished to continue. There were around 2,400 that failed to respond plus approximately 1,200 people who could not be identified as they had been included in multiple claims by the Employment Tribunal in Bristol to help with administration. The latter group did not receive this first communication.
As part of the dialogue with the business, the DGS(P) Department made it clear that we could not support a scenario where the overwhelming majority of members’ back pay was delayed due to a minority who had either not responded or could not be identified. Following further work with the Membership and Legal Services Departments as well as assistance from the North Lancs and Cumbria Branch and the Worcester and Hereford Branch, the number of unidentified Employment Tribunal claimants was vastly reduced. This undoubtedly helped in concluding the attached Joint Statement that was unanimously endorsed by the Postal Executive at a meeting on 27th September 2021.
In advance of this agreement being reached, a further letter was sent from the Legal Services Department to those members who failed to respond to the first correspondence and those previously unidentified claimants. This provided these members with a further chance to withdraw their individual Employment Tribunal cases and therefore be included in the arrangements for the payment dates as clarified in the Joint Statement.
Branches and Representatives will recall that all back pay had to be calculated manually by Royal Mail Group. As a result, the cut-off date for information to be included in the PSP system in order to meet the 8th October 2021 deadline for the weekly paid members was 9am on Friday 24thSeptember 2021. Those who did not return confirmation of their Employment Tribunal withdrawal by this time will not be included in the pay run for 8th October 2021. Those members who still respond positively to withdrawing their Employment Tribunal cases but return forms after this time will be included at a later payment date of 22nd October 2021 and the deadline for meeting this date is 3pm on Friday 8th October 2021. Monthly paid members will receive their payments as part of their October salaries on 30thOctober 2021.
In the future, there are likely to be a number of additional agreed dates for back pay as it is obvious that the withdrawal of Employment Tribunal claims will not all be at once. Branches will note that the proposed Joint Statement crucially contains a clause that individuals who do not meet the above mentioned deadlines will still receive a back payment after this time, once they have withdrawn their individual claim. These future dates will need to be agreed but will depend to an extent on the volumes and Royal Mail Group being able to process these throughout the peak period.
The back pay has cost Royal Mail Group a significant amount of new money. Branches will appreciate that it has been a long journey to get to this point but at last many of our members will now see some real recompense for the additional hours of non-contractual overtime that they have performed. Coupled with this, Branches and Representatives will also see that the dates for the first interim payments for the 29th March to 26th September 2021 qualifying period have now also been confirmed as being 26thNovember 2021 for the weekly paid and 30th November 2021 for those on monthly salaries. These interim payments apply to everyone who meets the qualifying threshold and are not dependent on the withdrawal of Employment Tribunal claims.
The back pay will be a new payment for many thousands of members and there are likely to be substantial enquiries regarding individual calculations. The national agreement stated that these should be initially made to HR Services and the proposed Joint Statement builds upon this with other more defined options including the use of the People App and the My HR Help web form on PSP. Branches receiving enquiries about back pay should direct members to these.
In closing, I would like to record my thanks to Tony Rupa and the Legal Services Department for their help in resolving what became an incredibly complicated matter.
Any enquiries in relation to the content of this LTB should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department.
Deputy General Secretary (Postal)