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If teachers at a Sixth Form College go on strike for a day, how much money is the College entitled to deduct from their wages?
This was the issue that arose in Hartley v King Edward VI College (2017) UKSC 39. The employer had made the deductions at a rate of 1/260 of the teachers’ annual pay. This was based on the number of weekdays in a year. The teachers were unhappy with this. They felt that the correct measure was the number of days in a year and that only 1/365 should be deducted. The matter ended up before the Supreme Court, which published its decision this week.
The Supreme Court found in favour of the teachers, deciding that the College was only entitled to make deductions at a rate of 1/365 of the annual salary. The Court decided this was a situation to which the Apportionment Act 1870 applied, basically because the teachers’ contracts did not provide expressly for their salaries to be paid to staff ‘pro rata in respect of divisible obligations to perform work on each day of directed time’.
The outcome means that teachers at Sixth Form Colleges are now in the same position as teachers at Secondary Schools, whose contracts deal with the issue directly and specify that the deduction should be 1/365.
The full decision can be viewed here