PSNI and NI Policing Board Appeal Dismissed – Settlement for Unpaid Holiday Pay now estimated at £40million

The Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland has today dismissed an appeal against a previous tribunal decision on a class action brought by a group representing 3,700 police officers and civilian support staff of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. In November, the Tribunal had decided that unlawful deductions from their holiday pay entitlements are in breach of fundamental European law rights.  The decision at that time was estimated to result in a total award of c£30million. The Chief Constable’s challenge of that decision has been unsuccessful.

In a further cross-appeal by the claimants, an additional challenge was made on the correct calculation of the holiday pay. The cross-appeal argued that, instead of basing the calculation on 365 days a year, the calculation should be based on the actual number of working days. The Court of Appeal upheld this cross-appeal, meaning that the amount of the settlement is now likely to increase by a third, to c£40million.

The case was brought by a group of 14 lead claimants representing two groups: police constables and sergeants (for whom the Chief Constable of the PSNI is answerable) and civilian support workers, such as forensic staff and crime scene surveyors (for whom the NI Policing Board for Northern Ireland is answerable).

Our Partner, John McShane, represented 9 of the 11 police officers and 2 civilian staff claimants. He explained “The issue in question was whether these groups should have their overtime and other allowances included in the calculation of their “normal” pay, in order to work out their holiday pay entitlements. Up until now, holiday pay has been based on working basic contracted hours and has not taken into account the often extensive additional hours required by their work.  In 2014 a high-profile case in GB determined that pay whilst on annual leave should include an average of overtime and other allowances.  Cases were pursued here because the PSNI had not sought to comply with these legal obligations.”

He summed up by saying “This is the culmination of an employment law case lasting over five years and involving an enormous amount of work. On behalf of all of these individuals, we feel fully vindicated by the Court of Appeal’s judgment today and we hope to see the settlement resolved reasonably and sensibly by the Chief Constable to see PSNI staff and officers paid fairly”.

Congratulations to John from all of the team at MTB. If you require expert employment advice, please contact us immediately.

MTB Partner, John McShane represented 11 of the 14 Claimants.