Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs v Middlesbrough Football and Athletic Company (1986) Ltd UKEAT/0234/19/LA

Appeal against the ET’s decision that employees of the Respondent were not being paid below the national minimum wage (“NMW”). Appeal allowed.

The Respondent football club offered a scheme for certain of its employees to buy season tickets, for use by family members, whereby the costs were met by the wages paid to the employees being reduced by designated weekly instalments. The Appellant considered that, under the scheme, some employees were being paid below the NMW, and it served notices of underpayment. The Respondent claimed in the ET that an exception under regulation 12 of the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 ("2015 Regulations") applied to the scheme; the ET agreed and rescinded the notices of underpayment. The Appellant appealed on grounds including that the ET erred in treating regulation 12(2)(e) of the 2015 Regulations as capable of potentially applying to deductions, even though it refers only to payments.

The EAT held that the arrangements under the scheme were properly categorised as deductions and not payments, and so the exception under regulation 12(2)(e) of the 2015 Regulations did not apply, and it allowed the appeal. Since the only legally correct outcome was that the notices of underpayment must stand, the EAT substituted a decision to that effect.

Published: 09/04/2020 14:43

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