News - Lock v. British Gas: Article 7 of the Working Time Directive

Employment & Discrimination - Michael Ford QC, Simon Cheetham QC

The Advocate General has delivered his opinion in Case C-539/12, Lock v. British Gas.

The case is about the level of pay in respect of annual leave required under Article 7 of the Working Time Directive and, in particular, commission payments. When he took annual leave, Mr Lock received commission based on past sales he had made; but he was not paid any sum for commission he would have earned if he were not on annual leave. Rejecting the argument of British Gas that it was sufficient that he received pay for commission during annual leave, AG Bot said that commission was part of Mr Lock’s normal remuneration and which was linked with tasks he was required to perform. If he were not paid it in respect of his period of annual leave, there was a risk of deterring him from taking annual leave. Accordingly the Directive required that he was paid it in respect of the period of annual leave and not only during annual leave. If the Court of Justice follows the AG’s Opinion, the case will potentially benefit the many thousands of workers who are paid wholly or in part by commission.

Michael Ford QC and Simon Cheetham, instructed by Shantha David of UNISON, represented Mr Lock.

The AG's Opinion is available on the Court of Justice's website. CLICK HERE

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