News - Court of Appeal holiday pay judgment in The Harpur Trust v Brazel

Employment & Discrimination - Michael Ford QC

Every worker is entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave under the Working Time Regulations, but the application of the law to those engaged in non-standard work continues to present difficulties. The Harpur Trust v Brazel is the latest instalment in the series. Mrs Brazel was a part-time music teacher, engaged on an hourly-paid contract, who did not teach in the school holidays (though she remained subject to contractual duties). The School argued her holiday entitlement should be less than 5.6 weeks, based on the weeks she in fact worked. UNISON intervened in the case in the Court of Appeal, contending that under the Working Time Regulations she was entitled to 5.6 weeks’ leave, just like a full-time teacher.

The Court of Appeal agreed: in common with every worker she was entitled to the statutory minimum wage, paid in accordance with the ordinary rules on a week’s pay. The case has importance for the increasing number of workers, such as those on zero-hours contracts, who don’t have permanent full-time contracts and who often don’t work some weeks in a year.

Michael Ford QC, leading Mathew Purchase, was instructed by Shantha David of UNISON’s legal department.

To read the full judgment, click here.

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