Commentary

(e) Does no work mean no pay?

Division BI Pay
| Commentary

(e) Does no work mean no pay?

| Commentary

(e)     Does no work mean no pay?

(i)     The co-dependency principle

It is sometimes asserted that 'no work means no pay' and it is certainly possible to find statements in the case law to the effect that work and wages are co-dependent. The most well-known of these is the following passage from Lord Templeman's judgment in Miles v Wakefield Metropolitan District Council [1987] IRLR 193, [1987] ICR 368, HL, where he stated as follows:

''In a contract of employment wages and work go together. The employer pays for work and the worker works for his wages. If the employer declines to pay, the worker need not work. If the worker declines to work, the employer need not pay. In an action by a worker to recover his pay he must allege and be ready to prove that he worked or was willing to work.''

Applying that principle to the facts of the case before it, the House of Lords held that the district council had been entitled to reduce the pay of a registrar who had refused to conduct Saturday weddings as part of an industrial dispute. However, the Miles case involved a deliberate refusal to work normally. In other situations, for example where the employee is prevented from working because of a road accident or a commuter train breaking down or where he loses a licence which he needs to perform his role, the maxim 'no work no pay' is far too simplistic and is not an accurate

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