It’s June and I haven’t got my offer or my money – “what the hell is going on?” I hear you cry.
So I will try and explain :
WE HAVE SIGNED THE MOU – YOUR OFFERS WILL BE COMING
BUT….. to finalise the offers we have to sort out the tax position. Equal Pay claims are essentially claims for arrears of wages. Wages are taxable so the offers have to be calculated gross and tax paid.
This means getting agreement with the HMRC on what tax is due. The best way to do this is to agree a composite – single rate- that can be applied to everyone. This is what we did in 2019. This means working out the best average rate that evens out across all the offers. As there are 20000 offers to be made, that is a huge task. And yes, we do need to do the calculations again as the make up of the claimant group has changed as have lots of tax rules and dates. HMRC will not let us just use the 2019 rate, although it may turn out to be very similar I suspect.
This process is out of the claimant reps and unions’ hands. It is being done by GCC’s external accountants – BDO.
Stage 1 – BDO has to get agreement from HMRC that they will allow the calculations by way of samples – not 20000 calculations
Stage 2 – agree how many people will be included in the samples, doing what jobs over what period
Stage 3 then do the samples and produce an average number
Stage 4 – get HMRC consent
Stage 5 – apply this agreed rate to all the calculations.
We are currently at stage 2
HOW LONG IS THIS GOING TO TAKE – we don’t know and its out of our control – which just makes this even more frustrating. We know everyone wants a guaranteed timeline and we can’t give you one. The council is as aware of this as we are and are as keen to get this done ASAP as you are. They do not want to delay this process anymore than we or you do.
WHY NOT MAKE OFFERS NOW AND PAY TAX LATER? Because this would take even longer – this would mean doing at least 250000 individual calculations involving every year covered by the offer – but also every source of income, including benefits for every year – and would mean possible benefit recalculations. It would be a nightmare for everyone. You’d have your offer but not you’re money especially if you were still employed – they council has to pay tax via PAYE.
WHY NOT THREATEN STRIKE ACTION? Because that would also take longer and may not even be lawful.
WHAT DO WE DO? Be patient is the only answer I can give. We know the council are urging BDO to work as fast as possible.
Once BDO has done its job we expect the offers to be sent in a matter of days and we will then give you a better timeline and more concrete information as it will be back in our control.
I know this delay is disappointing, incredibly annoying and frustrating. We are doing everything we can to get you your money as soon as is practicable.
Anyway I hope this gives you at least a little bit of clarity.