No. In British Airways -v- Pinaud the Court of Appeal held this to be unjust. In this case Mrs Pinaud commenced working with British Airways (BA) as a full-time member of staff; working 6 days on duty followed by 3 days off duty, being paid for 243 working days per year. Following maternity leave, she returned on a part-time contract working 14 days on and 14 days off. During her 14 days on she was required to be available to work for 10 days and in practice may have only worked 6 out of the 10 days. It was calculated that in a 14 -14 shift pattern Mrs Pinaud was required to be available to work 130 days a year. BA paid Mrs Pinaud 50% of a full-time employee’s wage, however Mrs Pinaud was required to be available to work for 53.5% of the year. 50% of a full-time employee’s availability to work equated to 121.5 days, so Mrs Pinaud exceeded this figure by 8.5 days per year.
Mrs Pinaud bought a claim for discrimination against BA to the Employment Tribunal. On bringing the claim she was advised that 628 colleagues had also pursued claims which had been stayed pending the outcome of her appeal. The Employment Tribunal found in favour of Mrs Pinaud and stated that BA could have increased her pay to 53.5% in line with her availability requirements, even though in practice Mrs Pinaud did not in fact work more than 50% of a full-time employee.
BA appealed the Employment Tribunal’s findings. The Court of Appeal rejected their appeal stating that their treatment of a part-time employee had been less favourable. The Court of Appeal has requested that a new Employment Tribunal consider the justification defence. The decision as to whether 3.5% of salary should be paid as way of compensation is eagerly awaited by not just Mrs Pinaud but also the 628 stayed Cabin Crew members claims against BA.