Post Office Counters (POCL) has caved into demands for the national minimum wage from sub postmasters after intervention by Inland Revenue. But POCL is still fighting another case where four weeks’ paid leave is being claimed under the working time regulations The Inland Revenue Minimum Wage Compliance Unit became involved after POCL lost an employment tribunal in September 1999 for not paying the minimum wage.The challenge came from Elizabeth Bain, who runs a sub post office at Tore near Inverness. POCL did not dispute she was paid less than the national minimum wage, which then stood at £3.60 an hour, but argued Bain was self employed and therefore not covered by minimum wage legislation. The tribunal found against POCL, and after holding out until the last day on which it could appeal, POCL agreed to settle Bain’s claim if she took the case no further. It paid her a top-up on the £2.22 per hour she earned, and introduced small shop top up payments for other sub postmasters. Bain asked the Inland Revenue to investigate terms imposed with the payments. POCL said top up payments would be annual ­ the regulations say the minimum frequency is monthly ­ and office expenses would be deducted from them, leaving less than the national minimum. This week a POCL spokeswoman said after discussions with Inland Revenue it had agreed to make the payments monthly, and the top up payments would be paid in full. However, she said POCL still believed sub postmasters were self employed and therefore not covered by the national minimum wage. She said POCL had introduced the small shop top up in recognition of sub postmasters having to pay their staff the national minimum wage. Another sub postmaster, Ken Hayward, of Belthorn Post Office, Blackburn, Lancashire, has launched an employment tribunal case claiming four weeks’ paid leave under the working time regulations. The spokeswoman said that the working time regulations also did not cover self employed people, and this was the basis of POCL’s opposition. {{NEWS }}