Lawyer loses claim for full pay after Covid 40% salary cut



A former senior associate has failed with a claim to recover his full salary for his month’s notice period after he resigned following firm-wide pay cuts.

Hilesh Chavda, former head of private client at commercial firm DKLM Solicitors, claimed for the £2,500 reduction that was applied to his salary for June after he handed in his notice at the start of that month.

The claimant was employed as a £75,000-a-year senior associate from last October, but was told in March – along with all other staff – that his pay was being cut by 80%. This arrangement was to be reviewed after three months.

The London Central employment tribunal heard that Chavda agreed to a 40% cut but made it clear this was for one month only.

He was then told the following month that the arrangement would continue in May before resigning at the beginning of June. Chavda asked for confirmation that the firm would pay him his full salary for the month of his notice period, on the basis that his bosses had pledged to review the salary cut at the end of May.

The firm told Chavda that he had resigned before the salary review discussions took place, and confirmed that income figures were still not recovered sufficiently to return to 100% salary.

The solicitor replied to state that no proposal had been agreed by him for any period beyond May, and so his normal salary should apply.

The tribunal heard that the firm agreed ‘purely as a gesture of goodwill’ to award Chavda a payment equal to 20% of his salary. He refused to accept this and pursued the matter through the tribunal.

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Employment judge Burns found that Chavda did not have a contractual or other right to a review of the June pay before the end of May. His contractual pay from 1 June remained 60% because it had been reduced to that level previously.

The firm told the Gazette that salaries for remaining staff have now been fully restored.



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