Update on Average Pay on Annual Leave (Holiday Pay) – Joint Statement Six Monthly Review
Further to LTB 504/21 circulated on 22nd November 2021, detailed negotiations have been ongoing in an attempt to resolve a number of remaining matters regarding the calculation for back pay, the outstanding Employment Tribunal withdrawals and the longer term IT solution system change.
I am now pleased to report to Branches and Representatives that the attached Joint Statement has been concluded and was unanimously endorsed by the Postal Executive, at a meeting held on 5thMay 2022. The terms of the Joint Statement contain an agreed way forward on all of the issues that have been raised in relation to back pay, as well as how the remaining Employment Tribunal claimants will have their back pay processed once they either withdraw their individual claims, or the claims are struck out. This Joint Statement coincides with the agreed six month review and builds upon our portfolio of holiday pay agreements. The agreed terms will undoubtedly result in further members receiving a back payment. Whilst the terms of the Joint Statement are self-explanatory the main points are listed below for the information of Branches and Representatives:
Outstanding ET/IT Claim Withdrawals and Back Pay
The last block payment to those who had withdrawn their Employment Tribunal (ET) claims was made in January 2022. The stage has now been reached where there are less than 500 members that are still to respond, following four letters from CWU Legal Services. As individuals provide notification that they wish to withdraw their ET claims Royal Mail Group (RMG) and the ET are being notified and payments are being progressed through the regularity calculation for back pay. This will also apply to those who have their ET claims ‘struck out’. Given the numbers now involved no additional mass payment dates are planned.
Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) Letter
In terms of members who received the ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ (CEV) letter from the Government, this issue has been the subject of ongoing talks in terms of the back pay calculation. Members who received this correspondence then had to shield and consequently this impacted upon their ability to meet the regularity threshold. RMG initially believed that the letter was advisory in nature and not mandatory, but during negotiations accepted the point that their own correspondence provided an instruction to stay at home. The Joint Statement allows for back pay calculations to be reviewed where an employee was recorded as ‘shielding self’ absence in PSP for more than two weeks within a financial period.
Some of our members through no fault of their own have to attend for jury service for lengthy periods and this may also have a detrimental impact upon their ability to hit the agreed regularity threshold, both in terms of back pay and future payments. There is now agreement that where jury service results in an absence exceeding two weeks in a single period, that period will qualify as a ‘free pass’. This process will also be used when assessing holiday pay for those who have to attend for jury service in the future.
As paternity pay is only paid for two weeks, the negotiators were unable to convince the business that those taking this leave would suffer a detriment in their ability to meet the regularity threshold. There is however agreement for a further review in the event of changes to legislation that may increase the level of paternity leave.
Longer-Term IT Solution
In terms of the longer-term IT solution system change, talks are ongoing with further joint updates to be provided. It is the intention to move the holiday pay program into PSP in May/June 2022, backdated to the start of the 22/23 holiday year, although this is subject to further testing. This will hopefully then allow for those who have met the regularity threshold to receive their holiday payment in the week or month that their holiday falls. The only change required will be that the regularity assessment periods for monthly paid will now operate with reference to calendar months, as opposed to the broad monthly periods that will continue to apply for weekly paid. An example of how this will apply is included in the Joint Statement, as well as a list of the broad monthly dates for weekly paid members for the 2022/23 leave year.
It can be seen that there is still work to be completed to get the longer-term IT solution up and running and further updates will be provided in due course.
Second Interim Payment Date
Branches and Representatives will be able to see that the second interim payment will be made to weekly paid employees on 27th May and in May salaries for monthly paid. This is of course subject to meeting the agreed regularity criteria.
In closing, colleagues will see that together with the Wallington Joint Statement that was circulated in LTB 224/22, the vast majority of the issues that have been raised in relation to back pay have now been successfully resolved.
I would like to thank Postal Executive member Bobby Weatherall for his ongoing assistance in relation to the first six month holiday pay review and for helping to conclude this Joint Statement.
Any enquiries in relation to the content of this LTB should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department.
Deputy General Secretary (Postal)