Overtime and Bonus Payments


The policy regarding the payment for working extraneous hours

in the period from the commencement of the Bank to 1939


When the Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank (BCSB) commenced in 1916, the salaries of the Corporation's existing non-manual employees were supplemented by a 'War Bonus' designed to offset the impact of the high rates of inflation prevailing during the conditions of the First World War. This bonus was the City Council's own scheme whose payments were described as "War Bonuses and Allowances and other payments granted in respect of the abnormal economic conditions created by the War and to meet the increased cost of living". The payments consisted of a flat rate advance of 60 per annum  for men and 40 to women, plus in each case a 30% advance on basic salary.


In 1920, the Corporation decided to substitute their local system with the Civil Service scheme, as had been done by other large towns and cities in the UK. This scheme was known as the 'Civil Service (101) Awards', being named after the most recent of a series of awards, when the bonus rate was formulated by 'Award No 101 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Board for Government Employees'.


The calculation of this War Bonus was similar to, but more complicated than the City's system, with different rules for men and women, and for those above or below the age of 21. The rules were again different depending upon whether the employee's ordinary rate of remuneration was above or below specified amounts. For example, a male employee of age 21 and upwards with a rate of remuneration exceeding 156 a year would have a bonus of 60 a year, plus the equivalent of 30% of their ordinary remuneration. This calculation was subject to the fact that the total bonus so calculated was not to be below that for a man whose ordinary rate of remuneration was less than 156; and was not to exceed 500 a year.


A pre-war Corporation employee, therefore, had a salary consisting of a basic rate plus the War Bonus. However, this was not the case with staff taken on by the BCSB during the War, as they were "engaged on certain fixed terms at the opening of the Bank, and such terms could not be disturbed without the concurrence of the Bank Committee and the individual officers concerned" (Minutes of the Bank Committee meeting held on May 3rd 1920). This variance from the Corporation's standard system was probably due to the fact that the Bank was a temporary organisation that was required to cease operations following the end of the War.


With the application of the 'War Bonus' continuing after the First World War, it became necessary to define the basic salary of BMB officers. After a meeting with the City's Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee in 1920, it was agreed by the Bank Committee that "for calculation purposes to deduct the sum of 78 in the case of men and 61 in the case of females from the existing salaries in order to arrive at a basic figure upon which the Award would be calculated".


The War Bonus did not apply to certain officers, including "Head Officials". When the salary of the Bank's General Manager (J P Hilton) was increased with effect from April 1st 1920, the revised salary of 750 per annum was stated to be "inclusive of bonus" to indicate that he would not receive any additional sum by way of a 'War Bonus'.


Although the City Council applied the provisions of the Civil Service Bonus Awards, it did not allow the payment of compensation for overtime working. The view of the Council was expressed in two letters from the Secretary of the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee addressed to the Bank Committee shortly after the BMB commenced on September 1st 1919:


November 5th 1919

Cases have recently come under the notice of the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee of special payments being made to officials in consideration of extra services rendered. The Committee are of opinion that this is an undesirable principle, and should be discouraged, and I am instructed to advise the several Committees of the Council accordingly.


I am to add that any exceptional cases which may arise in the future should be referred to the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee for consideration.


December 17th 1919

Payments to Officials for Extraneous Work.


Since the issue by the Salaries Wages and Labour Committee of their circular letter of the 5th November with reference to this matter, it has been represented to them that some amplification is desirable in order to remove any misapprehension that may exist.


Accordingly, I am directed to say that the principle my Committee desire to establish is that the ordinary remuneration of salaried officials should be recognised as covering all duties assigned to them by their respective Committees, and that any proposal which involves a departure from this principle should be referred to the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee for consideration.


It is, however, not intended that this ruling should operate in cases where, with the consent of his Committee, an official's advice or assistance is extended to other authorities in connection with work not directly concerning his Committee.


The question of payment for 'extraneous work' rose very early in the BMB's existence with the Bank Committee deciding on August 29th 1919 that:

no overtime money be paid to the Bank Staff, but when occasion demanded the staff should work extra hours, 1/- tea money be allowed to each officer and a record kept of the work done and the time spent so that the Committee may consider the granting of a bonus for such special work. This arrangement to hold good in connection with the present extra labours in dealing with transfers.


The transfers referred to related to the work of transferring the details of the individual BCSB accounts to the BMB. Presumably, the Bank staff received their 1/- tea money, but with over 21,000 accounts being transferred in the period September 1st 1919 to March 31st 1920, it was also necessary to employ special staff to cope with the work after ordinary hours - these people were paid at the rate of 2/- per hour.


However, most of the transfer work was done in August and September 1919. This work was not only done after normal hours during the week, but included whole days on Saturdays and Sundays. In recognition of this extraneous work, bonus awards were made at the rate of 10 each to Branch Superintendents, 7. 10. 0. each to the next grade of staff, and 5 each to the female staff - the 28 staff involved received a total amount of approximately 200.


Despite these payments, the General Manager reported to the Bank Committee on December 1st 1919 that representations had been made to him by certain members of staff for a ruling on the question of payment for overtime, and as to the amount to be granted for tea allowance when working late. As the practice varied amongst the various Corporation Departments, the Committee informed the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee that they were of the opinion that the clerical staffs of the Corporation should receive overtime at a rate not less generous than that paid to manual employees, and that the tea allowance be abolished.


The Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee replied as follows after obtaining details of the practices of the various Departments:


Overtime Allowances and Payments for Meals - Clerical Staff.


Replies were submitted showing the practice in the several Departments, and after examination thereof it was found that the principle of not recognising overtime pay to clerical workers is maintained in the Departments, but that special allowances are in a few instances made by Committees for special work and further that the allowance made for meals are on a reasonable basis.


This reply confirmed the policy detailed in the two letters reproduced above that were also issued by the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee.


In the case of the Bank, the major cause of overtime working was to be the Annual Balance each March 31st when interest was capitalised on individual accounts and a complete listing of depositors' accounts was made. Except for the totalling of the extracted lists of depositors' accounts by comptometer operators, the whole of the work was completed by hand. It is not known if any special allowance was made to staff for the work done at the first Annual Balance (March 31st 1920), but about 150 was paid to staff the following year. In 1922, the Committee gave the Chairman and General Manager power to authorise the payment of such bonus as they may consider equitable in each case on the lines adopted in the previous year, regard being had to efficiency displayed.


In 1923, a more established system of paying staff a bonus for the Annual Balance began, the amounts gradually increasing as the volume of work and the number of staff increased. The following table shows the amounts of these bonuses paid in the period up to the commencement of the Second World War.


In the early years, the distribution of the bonus was to be done with "regard being had to efficiency displayed" suggesting that Managers whose branches did not complete the operation with the efficiency expected by the Head Office management were paid less than some of their colleagues. Later, the bonus seems to have been divided by reference to seniority. Frank Jones in his Memories recalls that he was paid 3 and his Branch Manager received 5.


Although the number of accounts dealt with each year increased, the work at the larger branches was made considerably easier by the gradual introduction in the 1930s of mechanical posting machines.

of Accounts
(The Number of Accounts listed above is as per the relevant Committee report - the number occasionally varied slightly from those in Annual Reports.)
(1) Report of General Purposes Sub-Committee (April 16th 1923):
Additional work of staff in taking out balances.
As in previous years your Sub-Committee have considered the amount of the bonus to be granted to the staff in respect of the taking out of balances at the end of March. The staff were engaged on the work throughout Good Friday and Saturday and until late on the previous Thursday night, and your Sub-Committee consider that the sum of 250 should be granted to the officers concerned for this work, the distribution to be left to the General Manager, and regard being had to the efficiency displayed by the various members of the staff.
(2) Report of the General Purposes Sub-Committee (May 19th 1924):
Extracted List of Depositors' Balances.
Your Sub-Committee report that the work of balancing the accounts and making out the extracted lists for the last year was performed satisfactorily by the permanent staff of the Bank. Over 2200 hours of overtime was involved, the whole of the staff being engaged on Saturday afternoon (March 29th) and until 11pm at night; on Sunday from 9am to 10pm; on Monday the female clerks and juniors were engaged from 9am to 11pm; the men from 9am to 2:30am and a small number worked through the night until 9 o'clock Tuesday morning to complete the work.
Your Sub-Committee recommend that with the concurrence of the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee, the sum of 300 be granted to the Staff in respect of the work above mentioned, this amount to be distributed as the Chairman and General Manager may consider equitable.
(3) 1925: The number of hours of overtime was 3,035, the work being executed on March 31st and after Bank hours on the three following days.
(4) 1926: Hours worked: 4,158. The work commenced at 4:30pm on Wednesday, March 31st and throughout the whole of the Thursday, Good Friday, and with a limited staff, up to 2:30 am on Saturday, April 3rd.
(5) Report of the General Manager (April 13th 1928):
The work in connection with proving the balances of the individual accounts of depositors and the prescribed extracted lists of such balances was carried through at the end of the year with expedition and pleasing results. The accuracy of the book-keeping throughout the year contributed largely to the quick proving of the balances. A considerable amount of preparatory work had been done prior to the 31st March, the staff remaining over on several nights for the purpose. A section of the staff worked right through the night of March 31st - April 1st, while the majority of the senior officers remained on duty until 2am on April 1st and returned at 9am. A few of the senior Branch officers remained to complete their work until 2am on April 2nd. As in previous years help has been rendered by other Corporation departments in loaning comptometer machines and operators.
The number of hours worked on the balances totalled 4,405.
(6) Report of the Finance Sub-Committee (April 28th 1930)
Your Sub-Committee have considered the report of the General Manager with reference to the work performed by the staff in balancing the ledger accounts and making the requisite extracted lists of balances for the year ended 31st March last.
It is desired to point out that owing to the larger number of branches and the additional work undertaken by the Bank, the work involved at the Annual Balance becomes increasingly heavy, and that the difficulty in meeting the situation is accentuated by the congestion at Head Office and some of the branches owing to inadequate accommodation.
The preparatory work in connection with the Balance was commenced at Head Office and all branches on Tuesday, the 25th March, the staff working overtime each day in order to facilitate the actual balance at the end of the financial year. Commencing on Saturday night, the 29th March, at 9:30, and continuing the whole of Sunday and Monday, 3,500 hours were registered on this work, and as a result it was possible to insert interest in depositors' pass books as presented at the counters on and after the 1st April. The number of accounts dealt with this year was 311, 956, as compared with 280,274 last year; and to assist in the work 35 comptometer operators and machines were loaned by other Corporation Departments and the Burroughs Adding Machine Co. Since the extracted lists were prepared, the staff have been engaged on over-time each day in entering in the ledgers the accruing interest, and making the necessary classification of accounts.
In this connection your Sub-Committee feel that it is very desirable that the special adding machines ordered should be brought into use as early as possible, and they have directed the General Manager accordingly, and requested him to consider the desirability of obtaining additional machines at an early date.
Your Sub-Committee are strongly of opinion that the bonus allowed in past years has not been adequate for the strenuous nature of the work performed, and they feel that the time has arrived when a more generous recognition of this work should be made. They accordingly recommend that, subject to the concurrence of the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee, a sum of 700 be allowed for the work undertaken in connection with the last Balance, the sum to be distributed as the General Manager considers equitable. Last year the amount of the bonus was 550.
(7) Extract from Report of the Finance Sub-Committee (April 20th 1931):
The work was carried out during Saturday afternoon, March 28th, Sunday, March 29th, Monday afternoon and late evening, March 30th, the whole of Tuesday, March 31st, and Wednesday afternoon and evening, April 1st. As in former years the staff were in a position to enter the interest in the pass books of depositors when the Bank was open on the 1st April.
The number of accounts dealt with this year was 333,177 as compared with 311,956 last year. In addition, balances were taken out in respect of 6602 house purchase accounts. The work was facilitated by the loan of 35 comptometer operators and machines from other Corporation departments and from the Burroughs Adding Machine Company.

(8) Extract from Report of the Finance Sub-Committee (May 23rd 1932):


The work was carried out on Tuesday afternoon and evening, March 29th, Wednesday afternoon and evening, March 30th, and the whole of the day on March 31st until late at night. As in former years the Staff were in a position to enter the interest in pass books of depositors when the Bank was opened on 1st April.


The number of accounts dealt with this year was 344,749 as compared with 333,177 last year. In addition, balances were taken out in respect of 6,962 House Purchase accounts. The work was facilitated by the loan of 42 Comptometer Operators and machines from other Corporation Departments and from the Burroughs Adding Machine Co.


(9) Report of the General Purposes Sub-Committee (February 20th 1933):


Overtime by Members of the Bank Staff.


The overtime carried out by members of the Bank Staff in connection with the alteration in the rate of interest, involved 4,649 hours in addressing envelopes, and 1350 hours engaged in adjusting interest.


Your Sub-Committee are of opinion that such work which was entirely outside the ordinary duties of the staff should be acknowledged, and they recommend that a sum of 250 be granted in respect of this extra work for distribution among the members of the staff concerned in such manner as the General Manager may consider equitable, the sum mentioned to also cover the out-of-pocket expenses of these officers.


(10) Hours of overtime worked: 5,982


(11) Report of the General Purposes Sub-Committee (December 18th 1933):


Transfer of Establishment - Head Office.


Your Sub-Committee report that the removal of the whole of the cash documents, books, etc from Edmund Street and Easy Row to Broad Street was effected during the night of November 27th - 28th. In addition to the employment of outside assistance, the male staff over 21 years of age were engaged from 11 o'clock to 8am on such removal, the total hours involved being 1,107. Your Sub-Committee recommend that a payment of 10/- per head be made to each member of the staff concerned to cover out-of-pocket expenses.


(12) 1934: As the balance coincided with the Easter holidays it was necessary for the staff to work the whole of Good Friday.


(13) 1935: After the sum of 750 was paid to the staff for the Annual Balance Bonus in each of the last four years, the amount was increased to 800 to reflect that the number of accounts had increased by 59,708 over that period.


(14) Extract from Report of the Finance and General Purposes Sub-Committee (May 18th 1936):


The number of hours worked by the staff amounted to 4,545. The analysis of accounts and the addition of the twelve months forward interest on the open accounts has since proceeded, involving another 1,500 hours.


(15) 1937: Extract from Report of the Finance and General Purposes Sub-Committee (May 24th 1937):


The total additional time spent on the Balance represented 6,465 hours. The analysis of accounts and the addition of the twelve months Forward Interest on the open accounts, has since proceeded, involving further extra work.


(16) 1938: The number of extra hours worked was 6,500.


(17) Report of the Finance & General Purposes Sub-Committee (May 15th 1939):


Annual Balance - Staff Bonus.


Your Sub-Committee have considered the report of the General Manager on the work carried out by the staff in connection with the annual balance and the making of the requisite abstracted list of balances for the year ended 31st March last.


The number of accounts dealt with this year was 474,216 as compared with 450,584 last year and the total number of extra hours' work was 6,521.


Your Sub-Committee recommend that, subject to the concurrence of the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee, a grant be made to the staff of 800, the same amount as last year, such sum to be distributed as the General Manager considers equitable.


(The number of accounts was: Savings 466,163; House Purchase 8,053)

Overtime in 1947