The recent Judgement on Holiday Pay in Northern Ireland is a significant outcome for members of the Trade Union NIPSA who funded hundreds of Civilian PSNI cases.
It is estimated that the cases including police officers will potentially cost in the region of £30million pounds. However for NIPSA members who are low paid this has huge significance in that many who rely on overtime to make ends meet at the end of the month can now take a holiday without the worry of not being able to pay their bills.
NIPSA General Secretary Alison Millar stated:
“NIPSA welcomes this very detailed judgement on this extremely important case. Holiday Pay is a health and safety issue, ensuring workers have proper rest breaks throughout the year so that they do not become ill through work. Many NIPSA members and other workers in Northern Ireland have not had a decent pay rise in years and rely on overtime and allowances to pay their bills. NIPSA started this case in Northern Ireland arising from low paid female employees who couldn’t afford to take holidays because they depended on overtime payments, NIPSA solicitors MTB then won the Patterson -v- Castlereagh Borough Council case in 2015. NIPSA then lodged the PSNI civilian cases. Further cases have also been lodged in both the Civil and Public services but have yet to be heard in tribunal. For NIPSA it is important that the significance of this case is clear in that no worker should be deterred from taking their holidays because they can’t afford to do so. NIPSA will continue to lodge cases for its members where it feels employers have failed to implement the law. Taxpayers money should not have to be wasted fighting cases on the basis that employers have failed to implement the law. Penny wise, pound foolish springs to mind.”
John McShane, the solicitor from MTB representing the NIPSA PSNI cases, stated:
“It is in the interest of employers and Trade Unions to properly recognise what the law is and to properly pay employees in accordance with its legal obligations. It is questionable why some employers are continuing to ignore their legal obligation some 4 years after the case law settled this issue.”
Antoinette McMillen, the Official who lodged the cases, stated:
“This judgement is significant for a number of reasons, in particular that employers cannot ignore the law. NIPSA welcomes the judgement and are at a loss as to why NIPSA and others had to lodge cases given the legislation and previous judgements. The public money spent on this case could have gone to paying workers and saved the taxpayer on legal bills. The NIPSA members who over the last eleven years fought these cases are to be commended, they have fought for all workers in Northern Ireland.”