FDA Wins Over £200,000 for CPS Direct Union Members
The Law Of…Winning Multiple Holiday Pay Claims
The FDA are a union who represent senior managers and professionals across the public services. Recently, The FDA brought a multiple tribunal claim against CPS Direct on behalf of its members. They were challenging the CPS on behalf of their employees who had received incorrect pay for anti-social hours worked.
The FDA managed to secure over £200,000 for the 49 claimants whose holiday pay had been miscalculated. Find out how Joy Drummond, Employment Law Partner, assisted the FDA with the claim and the settlement negotiations.
What Was The Initial Problem?
CPS Direct plays a vital role in the justice system, offering 24-hour, 365-day-a-year criminal charging advice to the police. The FDA spotted that its members were being left out of pocket because of the way the employer was calculating holiday pay for staff who worked anti-social hours.
To compensate for these taxing and anti-social hours, CPS staff were entitled to 'premium payments', which means they received extra money on top of their regular pay based on the timing of their shift.
Sandra Carrera-Sanchez, a senior prosecutor employed by CPS and FDA Branch Convenor, realised there could be potential for an error in the way holiday pay was being calculated, and contacted FDA National Officer, Jawad Raza.
A Race Against Time
Jawad began contacting members of the union who worked for CPS to alert them of the issue and find out how many were affected.
The FDA sought advice from Joy Drummond, who has run numerous successful holiday pay claims, on the next steps. As Joy explained, the situation was made even more complicated by the addition of a tight deadline for taking action:
“In response to an employer outcry following the decision in the Bear Scotland case, the Government had rushed in regulations just before Christmas 2014 restricting the scope to claim back pay in all unlawful deduction of wages claims”, she says.
“This meant claims had to be lodged before 1 July 2015, or suffer a two year cut-off for repayment of outstanding holiday pay”. If the FDA had missed that deadline, it would have directly affected any pay-outs received by long-serving CPS Direct staff, and Jawad and Joy now had less than two weeks to lodge their claims.
To do that, they needed the details of all the claimants to be included in the claim. Joy and Jawad raced against the clock in order to get the claim ready in time. Joy drafted the grounds for the details of claim and Jawad put together and lodged 49 claims on the final day of the deadline.
With the claim lodged before the deadline, the employment tribunal case was then delayed to allow the FDA to seek a resolution with the CPS, who quickly admitted their fault.
Reaching agreement on how the payments should be calculated to comply with the law came next, which was much more difficult. The FDA firstly had to contact each of the claimants to get more detail on the amount of annual leave they had taken since joining the organisation. The hours worked could then be cross-referenced with any calculations made by the CPS.
After months of talks with the employer, a binding agreement was made to settle the case on behalf of the 49 claimants earlier this year. The final settlement figure topped £200,000 in total.
Joy believes the negotiations in the case were made "unnecessarily complicated" by the Government Legal Department’s lack of understanding. She was quick to credit Jawad's persistence in securing an offer that the union could put forward to its members.
The case was a great success for the FDA, showcasing their ability to deliver for their members under high pressure circumstances. Joy says that the case is a great example of what union representation can achieve when branch representatives, National Officers and legal advisers all come together to work as a team.
Jawad Raza said that the expert guidance Joy provided played a major role in securing the best outcome for their members. From the early stages of the case right through to the end, he says Joy was an invaluable resource; from helping draft the employment tribunal claim, to providing case law in negotiations with the Government Legal Department to ensuring all legal guidance was correct.
What Happens Now?
The FDA’s work to ensure that members in CPS Direct are properly compensated is far from over, and Jawad says the union is now looking to negotiate on behalf of the remaining members who could not be part of the original claim.
Joy Drummond is part of our specialist Employment Law team. If you think you are not being paid the correct amount of holiday pay, we recommend that you contact your union. If you require an employment solicitor to discuss the calculation of your holiday pay, or any other legal dispute with your employer, you can also ask us for help by telephoning us on our freephone number or by emailing us using our online enquiry form.