A body representing rank-and-file PSNI officers is “delighted” with an industrial tribunal ruling that outstanding holiday pay worth an estimated £30 million must be paid.
Police Federation NI chairman Mark Lindsay was speaking after the tribunal ruled in favour of a class action brought by a group representing more than 3,700 officers and staff.
The case was brought by a group of 14 lead claimants, 11 police officers and three civilian staff members.
Judge Noel Kelly said staff were owed the money because their holiday pay had been calculated on the basis of their basic working hours, and did not include overtime.
The decision, understood to have been reached on Friday, could mean the PSNI and the Police Authority face a bill of as much as £30m dating back 20 years.
Mr Lindsay said government should step in and cover the cost.
“We are delighted with this ruling which corrects a long-running disadvantage and delivers significant back payments to officers.
“This ruling will give officers what they are entitled to,” he said in a statement.
“The Federation is aware of the financial implications of the ruling. Paying what officers are due should not be allowed to adversely impact on the PSNI budget which is already under strain.
“I’d call on the Government to step in to meet the claim rather than allow it to become a burden on the existing financial allocation.”
John McShane, a solicitor with McCartan Turkington Breen, a firm representing nine of the 11 police officers and two civilian staff claimants, said: “The issue in question was whether these groups should have their overtime and other allowances included in the calculation of their ‘normal’ pay, in order to work out their holiday pay entitlements.
“Up until now, holiday pay has been based on working basic contracted hours and has not taken into account the often extensive additional hours required by their work.
“In 2014 a high-profile case in Great Britain determined that pay whilst on annual leave should include an average of overtime and other allowances.
“Cases were pursued here because the PSNI had not sought to comply with these legal obligations.
“The cases also addressed to what extent arrears of these unlawful deductions of wages, backdated to 1998 could be claimed.”
Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin said: “We are considering the findings of this legal judgment which is complex and significant.”