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Worker paid £5k after Council loses employment tribunal

Authority stopped paying gully operative for alleged overpayment of wages

Douglas Borough Council has been ordered to pay a worker of 36 years more than £5,000 after losing an employment tribunal.

It ruled William Pye, a gully operative, had suffered unlawful deductions from his salary.

He had been receiving sick pay after a holiday to Cyprus saw him stranded in the country for three months due to coronavirus restrictions.

Despite obtaining sick notes from his doctor, the Council stopped paying him as it attempted to claw back what it alleged was overpayment of wages.

A three-day hearing was told Mr Pye's trip to Cyprus in March last year was not unusual as he visited the country on holiday each year.

The Council had argued the decision to go on holiday was reckless but a report concluded there was no official warning from the Isle of Man Government that travelling at that time could have an impact on pay.

Borders in Cyprus were shut shortly after he arrived and Mr Pye was unable to return to the Isle of Man until 2 July, where he was instructed to self-isolate for a further two weeks.

Notes from his doctor entitled Mr Pye to sick pay equal to his normal pay during his time off work, however, the Council stopped this on 5 July.

The authority was attempting to recoup money paid to Mr Pye at a rate of £100 per week until it had been fully reimbursed.

This was ruled to be an unlawful decision under the Employment Act 2006, with Mr Pye suffering deductions of more than £,3,500.

A report found that Mr Pye had been certified as a vulnerable person under the Isle of Man Government's Emergency Powers, forming part of the reason for him not reporting for work between 31 March and 20 July.

Four-weeks salary was also awarded to the complainant as part of the compensation package, meaning a final sum of £5,208.54.

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