UNLAWFUL DEDUCTIONS CLAIM AND PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS
29 April 2013
Thank you to Daniel Barnett’s Employment Law Bulletin for drawing our attention to the case of Somerset County Council v Chambers that asked the question of the EAT, do pension contributions amount to 'wages' for the purpose of an unlawful deductions claim?
It would appear not in this case.
Mr Chambers was a social worker employed by the Council. He was a member of a superannuation scheme to which both the employer and employee contributed. He later became a locum social worker on a fractional basis. A change to the Local Authority Pension Scheme rules meant that a person could not be a member of the scheme unless he was employed under a contract of employment of more than 3 months duration. The Council suspended contributions but later re-instated them. There was a dispute about pay, holiday pay and pension contributions in the suspension period.
The employment tribunal awarded the sums claimed as being wrongful deductions from wages.
On appeal to the EAT one of the questions was whether the employment tribunal had jurisdiction to award repayment of the employer's pension contributions on the basis these were deductions from 'wages'.