All employers should be aware of they legal duty to provide itemised pay statements to their employees, but in a new case at the Employment Appeal tribunal it has been decided that there must be more detail than some might think.
The case of Ridge v Her Majesty’s Land Registry UKEAT/0098/10/DM was taken my Mr Ridge after losing his claim at the Employment Tribunal. Mr Ridge, it seems, suffered a period of poor health and had used up his sick pay, there were some months when he was paid less than normal to compensate for missing days and other months where he was overpaid and the money was later clawed back as an overpayment. When money was clawed back the company simply put the deduction as a minus figure on the payslip. Mr Ridge had complained that, although he knew perfectly well what the deduction was for, he should have been notified on his pay slip.
The original Employment Judge ruled that there was no case, the deduction had been legitimate and the Claimant had known what it was for and therefore the claim was misconceived, the EJ then went on to order costs against Mr Ridge in the sum of £500.
Mr Ridge took his case to the EAT and the judgment just handed down is that the pay statement should have shown what the deduction was for, in other words the pay statement was contrary to section 8 (1)(b) of the Employment rights Act 1996. Mr Ridge had won his case at the EAT, but what did he win. He won absolutely nothing as he had lost nothing. I suppose you could consider that he won, because the cost order for £500 was quashed, logically if he won his point the matter cannot have been totally misconceived.
Perhaps it was because of cases like this the the Ministry of Justice introduced fees in the employment tribunal and the employment appeal tribunal. While it was a reasonably interesting academic issue to find out how much detail is required on a pay statement, it is fairly certain that the costs far outweighed the benefits of the judgment. Or, then again, without cases like this perhaps our lives would not be as enriched by the judges interpretations of the legislation.
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