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CPD Payment linked to attendance and punctuality

Hi, was wondering if anybody could give me some professional advice.  My Government owned fire station is responsible for implementing its own policies.  Government, has just implemented a CDP payment for all personnel.  However, management within the fire station want to link this payment to attendance/absenteeism and punctuality.

We have a Maintenance Of Skills Training (MOST) Program that records training/development and highlights gaps in each person's development.  Although very long periods of absence will negatively affect development and will be picked up by the MOST programme, management want to use the withholding of CPD payments for absence that may not affect a person's training or development programme (we currently have a 14 day sick leave entitlement that contain warnings at different points, including the option of disciplinary procedures).  We can understand withholding payments for long lay offs that affect development, but not for absence that does not affect development

In addition, they want to penalise late comers by withholding CPD payments, despite there being a disciplinary procedure for habitual latecomers.

Management are adamant on pushing this through, however, many of us feel that they are utilising CPD payments in the wrong way.  We have disciplinary procedures for dealing with absenteeism and punctuality, why should they use a professional development payment to further chastise personnel?  Is this unethical?  Is it illegal?

I welcome any professional opinions on this matter.

Many thanks!

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  • Welcome to Communities, Shane

    Not entirely clear about whether or not the workplace scenario you describe is subject to UK employment law, nor about this kind of professional development payment. But essentially I think UK law's unlawful deductions from wages provisions may possibly be relevant here: one can argue that this is in effect an employer-imposed sanction - a kind of 'fine' for poor attendance etc - and as such is unlawful *unless* clearly agreed-to in advance by the employees affected.

    Thus, unless the employer can point to their express contractual rights to withhold these payments, their actions may be open to legal challenge, as you seem to suspect.

    But it's a bit convoluted and entirely dependent on the full specific facts, so I'm not entirely certain, I'm afraid.
  • In reply to David:

    Hi David, thank you for your welcome and reply.

    We are based in a British Overseas Territory so are subject to UK Law, although our constitution allows our Govt to adapt these laws to our needs. Our station comes under a Govt owned agency, although our policies are developed by our station managers. The CPD payment is recompense for maintenance of skills, professional development in the role and 'going over and above' in the carrying out of their duties. However, management also want to withhold payments for issues regarding attendance and punctuality, as a kind of punishment/sanction/fine. I hope this makes it a little clearer.

    I have been searching for relevant UK legislation in this regard but am struggling to find anything. I would greatly appreciate it if you or anyone could point me to the relevant legislation.

    Many thanks!
  • In reply to Shane:

    Hallo again Shane

    The 1996 Employment Rights Act consolidated much of British employment law, including the right not to have pay deducted by consent. For more see such as

    Suppose you and your colleagues could point to the CPD payment falling quite clearly within the definition of pay or wages here, being as I understand it a kind of allowance. And that in effect the employers are making deductions from this allowance without the authorisation required by the ERA.

    It sounds very much like an employer imposing a tariff of as you say 'fines' on employees found to have broken workplace rules or not reached workplace targets for such as attendance. And  unless such financial sanctions were expressly written into the contract of employment in advance, they'd be unlawful under the provisions of the ERA.

    Does the mirroring of UK employment law in your territory extend to Employment Judges and Employment Tribunals or is there some other adjudication system for employees' disputes with their employers?

    The probable next steps if it was the UK would be for the employees to raise this matter informally with the employer then if they weren't happy with the response to continue to pursue it as a formal workplace (collective) grievance then on to an Employment Tribunal for independent adjudication if they still considered that the employer was acting unlawfully.

    I and I'm sure colleagues here would be interested to hear what your employers have to say about this matter - please keep us posted.

  • In reply to David:

    PS Shane

    On reflection and on further reading of your original post, it seems this CPD payment is a new allowance management have devised to enhance existing payments by variable sums, depending on a set of criteria mainly to do with the training matters you describe in your second post, but depending on others relating to attendance. Thus, if this CPD allowance is newly-implemented or not yet implemented, arguably we're not talking deductions from pay here but rather the determination of the payment levels of a new allowance. It's called a CPD payment, perhaps not entirely accurately, but, arguably again, what's in a name? / does it really matter what short description gets applied to it? For example, if they'd called it something like a Merit Alowance, parts of it might relate to participation in professional skills development but other components relate to maintenance of good personal attendance records or whatever.

    In these circumstances one might I think argue that deductions from pay aren't going on at all.

    Just thinking aloud, and may not have had or understood the full picture yet, but suspect your employer's justifications for doing this might be along these lines