Abercrombie staff entitled to guaranteed payments

The Court of Appeal has found in favour of hourly-paid employees at US clothing retailer Abercrombie to claim guarantee payments for workless days.

In the case, Abercrombie and Ors v AGA Rangemaster Ltd, staff agreed to work a four-day week under a temporary agreement that had been made through their trade union, the GMB, to address a shortage of work during 2009.

When things took a turn for the better, the employer did not cancel the agreement early, but instead let it be known that anyone who wanted to could go back to five days working early. Some employees did, but not all.

The organisation refused to pay staff guarantee payments for the fifth day and the issue was rejected by the employment tribunal.

The GMB contended, on behalf of the employees, that they could claim payments for Fridays because they had not been provided with work on a day on which they would be contractually required to work.

The Court of Appeal found in favour of the employees because of the contractual agreement. These employees were entitled to guarantee payments under section three of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Lord Justice Underhill said: “The fact that the employee, or his representatives, may have expressly agreed to a departure from the norm, in a manner which gives rise to a variation of the contract of employment, does not by itself mean that it is any the less a departure.”