Payroll payment for union subscriptions to be abolished

07 August 2015

The government has announced that the practice of state-run union subscription payments in the public sector are to be abolished, removing the administrative burden on employers.

The practice is known as ‘check off’ and under this process many public sector workers who are union members have their subscriptions taken directly from their salary, administered by their employer. This was a practice introduced at a time when many people didn’t have bank accounts, and before direct debits or digital payments existed as a convenient and secure way for people to transfer money.

The removal of check off will modernise the relationship between employees and their trade unions and give the employee greater control over their subscription, allowing them to set up their own direct debit with their chosen trade union, and giving them greater consumer protection under the Direct Debit Guarantee.

The government intends to update legislation in the Trade Union Bill to facilitate the policy being adopted across the whole of the public sector. This announcement follows the successful removal of check off by a number of central government departments including the Home Office, HMRC and MoD.