26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Former officer wins case over pay cut

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The United Kingdom Home Office has been forced to award back pay to a former employee who took the Department to court after it unexpectedly cut her base salary.

Former Higher Executive Officer in the Department, Angela Maull initiated legal action after a contract change meant she missed out on pay rises and pension benefits.

Ms Maull took up the post in December 2018 and was initially paid £33,032 ($A56,550), the salary agreed in the Home Office’s job offer.

However, after four months, the Department sent her a new contract of employment with a lower base salary of £29,040 ($A49,676).

After cutting her base pay to the lower figure in June 2019, the Home Office added a ‘mark time’ top-up of £3,992 ($A6,880) to take the total to her original salary.

However, Ms Maull’s lawyers argued that the ‘mark time’ arrangement — a mechanism used when an employee’s salary falls, and their employer agrees to top it up to the original amount for a fixed period — caused detriment because it meant she did not receive other pay rises, and the top up did not come with salary-related workplace benefits.

She also lost out on a temporary 10 per cent bump during a secondment, they said.

The Home Office said it had made a mistake in Ms Maull’s original contract, which recorded her place of work as Croydon, rather than Liverpool, which was actually the case.

Ms Maull said she had been visiting the Croydon office for around three days a week, but stopped when she fell ill, with the Department’s agreement.

The ex-official argued that the Home Office had deliberately matched her previous salary in the National Health Service when offering her the job, and this had been supported by a business case.

Ms Maull also said she and the Department were bound by the original contract, which she had signed in good faith.

The Home Office argued that it had not breached Ms Maull’s contract because the pay rises were at its discretion however, it was forced to hand over the lost pay and pension contributions after the court found in her favour.

The Department, which did not take up Ms Maull’s offer of a settlement, spent £50,000 ($A85,500) on its defence of the claim, court documents showed.

Ms Maull legal representative, Peter Harthan said the Home Office had “picked the wrong person to short-change”.

London, 20 August 2022

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