GSA Advocacy - Employers Contribution
In January 2015 the GSA canvassed members on the subject of the GSF Employer’s Contribution and how this was handled by current employers. The evidence that we gathered showsed us that the matter of the employer’s contribution and how it is dealt with depends very much on the employer. We have noticed a growing tendency for employees to be on "total remuneration" packages and to have all or part of the employer’s contribution included in their remuneration package. This can mean that any movement in the employer’s contribution has a net effect on take home salary. This practice appears commonplace, but by no means universal. There are a number of employers who are quite happy to continue as in the past, and there are still many employees protected from this practice by collective employment agreements.
We sought legal advice on based on the information which our members provided. The views we have received from the QC who we briefed on this matter are not what we had optimistically hoped for. In summary, the legal opinion is that it is not possible to identify real cases which could have sufficient general application that an overall benefit to a group of members could be achieved. While there are a number of members who have been disadvantaged, some substantially, by what has occurred, each case appears to be fact-specific. It is the opinion of our QC that if any member wished to contest the matter, each case would need to be investigated and put forward on an individual basis.
The legal view also reminded us of the one case which has gone to court, Sears in 1975, which, on appeal, found in favour of the employer.
Given that the GSA is not in a position to take individual cases to court where we cannot establish a principle and apply it to others, the Board has decided that unless there is a significant change in circumstances, we will not pursue this issue any further. While we appreciate that this will be disappointing to many members, we believe that this is the appropriate course of action for our Association.