Council Officers Intervene To Avoid Minimum Wage Breach

town hall windows signThe Council would have broken the law if officers had not intervened to ensure workers received the minimum wage.

It’s emerged that islanders staffing the polling stations during the recent election were going to be paid below the legal minimum. Tuesday’s Policy and Resources meeting heard that the hourly rate of £5.63 had fallen below the legal minimum of  £6.31.

Elections staff emailed the former interim Chief Executive Barry Keel to warn him, but the email was unanswered. After Mr Keel left the authority, Council officers agreed to increase payments to £104 for the day, which meets the minimum wage.

Cllr David Pearson questioned the wisdom in paying staff a low rate. He told members that it wasn’t easy sitting in a polling station and asked whether the Council should pay, “what we can get away with” for workers dealing with, “a complex legal situation.”

But councillors were warned about payment levels last year. During a debate, they rejected a proposal to bring the hourly election rate into line with other councils.

Instead, they asked the administration officer to write another report on the matter, but that hasn’t happen because of other work pressures. This concerned Chairman Amanda Martin who suggested that staff could produce reports if they streamlined and ‘bullet-pointed’ them.

Councillors agreed to peg the polling station payment to the minimum wage in the future, so if that goes up, they won’t need to meet to discuss the amount to be paid.

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