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Government launch holiday entitlement consultation

Back in July, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Harpur Trust v Brazel, that all part-year workers are entitled to be paid for 5.6 weeks’ holiday. This is the same statutory entitlement for full-time workers. This caused much confusion and concern for employers and HR professionals, especially due to the Court finding problems with the drafting of the relevant legislation itself.

This was because it meant that a part-year worker or worker with irregular hours who might only work for short periods during the year, could end up having to be paid for a full year’s holiday entitlement. Previously, most employers had pro-rated holiday entitlements to reflect the time actually worked by the individual.

In response to the potential financial consequences of the decision for employers, many of who are small or seasonal organisations, the Government has launched a consultation. The consultation proposes “to introduce a holiday entitlement reference period for part-year and irregular hours workers, to ensure that their holiday pay and entitlement is directly proportionate to the time they spend working.” This is in contrast to how employers thought that they had to pay such workers following the Harpur case.

This might signal a potential departure from what the case ruled as the consultation is clearly trying to assess the impact of the decision on businesses that remain concerned.

Robin Watson of ViewHR said, “the Government intervened before when the EU courts ruled that holiday pay should reflect an average pay for those with irregular income. It shows the impact of the case and the Government being seen to take action.”

The consultation can be found here and all employers are encouraged to get involved.

If you have any questions, please contact a member of ViewHR today.