Meal allowances judged to be topping up basic wages

February 5, 2020

When is a meal allowance really a backdoor way of topping up basic wages? When it’s paid by British Airways.

Six BA cabin crew have been successful in convincing an Employment Tribunal that in reality their meal allowances and other allowances paid in addition to basic pay were in fact a way of increasing basic wages. The Employment Tribunal have specifically decided that meal allowances were actual pay and should go into the calculation for what cabin crew should receive when they take their Working Time Regulations annual leave. Kevin McNerney represented six BA cabin crew at an Employment Tribunal in Watford. The decision has been published here. The relevant paragraphs regarding meal allowances are 70-88.

BA, aware of the ramifications for its pay bill, is appealing the decision and the appeal is due to be heard in early April 2020.

Kevin McNerney believes that in principle the possibility of generous allowances (and in particular meal allowances) being considered normal pay could be applicable to other cabin crew for other airlines.