Teachers' Payslips


Introduction

1.1 The following resolution was approved by the 2016 Annual General Meeting:

"This AGM calls upon the Salaries Committee to campaign for the right for all teachers to be given a hard copy payslip."

1.2 The Committee agreed in the first instance to seek information from local association secretaries. A summary of responses is appended (Appendix A).

1.3 The Committee also took advice from an advising solicitor in terms of the current legal position, as set out in section 8 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. 

Responses from LA Secretaries

2.1 The Salaries Committee has received 27 responses from Local Association Secretaries. 18 Councils currently operate electronic payslips while others propose to move to such a system.

2.2 The responses from LA Secretaries are set out in Appendix A.

2.3 LA Secretaries have identified a number of issues relating to electronic payslips. The principal concerns relate to difficulties with remote access, secure printing arrangements and the requirement for members to be able to facilitate paper copies for insurance, bank or mortgage providers.

2.4 Remote access problems are particularly problematic for those on long term absence or maternity leave.

2.5 The presentation and clarity of electronic payslips has also been identified as an issue but this is beyond the scope of this paper.

Legal Advice

3.1 Section 8 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 states that "an employee has the right to be given by his employer, at or before the time at which any payment of wages or salary is made to him, a written itemised pay statement."

3.2 The objective of the legislation is to ensure that employees are aware of all of the deductions that have been made from their pay at each payday. If they are unable to see those details on payday they can make a complaint to an employment tribunal. 

3.3 Our legal advice is that the word "given" is significant. A member has a right to be given a written pay statement. It is widely accepted that "given" can be interpreted to include pay slips being issued in an electronic format.

HMRC support this interpretation. However, an employer may come into difficulty in demonstrating that a pay slip has been "given" if, for example,  an employee does not have computer access temporarily or does not know where to find the payslip.

3.4 Employees may find it particularly difficult to access their payslips electronically whilst they are off sick or on leave. This may be a crucial time for checking for deductions and a paper pay slip delivered to their home address would resolve this issue.

3.5 In short, our solicitors advise that there is no legal right for a member to receive a paper pay slip unless they are unable to access electronic pay slips for any reason and without a paper pay slip the employer will not have "given" them their written itemised pay statement. 

3.6 If a member is not "given" a pay slip as they were on sick leave, for example, or do not have access to the intranet to download their pay slips, they can make a complaint to the tribunal.

If the tribunal considers that the statutory requirements have not been met, the employer can be required to repay to the member up to 100% of all of the deductions they were not notified of during the 13 weeks prior to the date of the complaint, even if they were legitimate or statutory deductions (section 12(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Conclusions

4.1 The legal advice indicated that the prospect of securing a "hard copy" payslip for all members is unlikely given the HMRC guidance.

4.2 However, Local Association Secretaries should raise with Councils a number of key negotiating points around electronic payslips. These should include:

  1. the requirement for secure remote access to electronic payslips
  2. the requirement for secure in house printing for those who wish to print hard copy payslips
  3. clear arrangements for those on absence or family leave to have access to hard copy payslips during leave. This should include paper payslips to those who do not have a means of remotely accessing Council intranets
  4. a commitment to provide hard copies upon request to allow members to satisfy the requirements of external bodies such as mortgage providers.

4.3 The Committee should keep the matter under review with a commitment to pursue legally circumstances, as set out in paragraph 3.6 above where a member is not "given" a payslip during sick leave or family leave.

Recommendation

5.1 This paper should be issued to Local Association Secretaries for information.

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