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In the Courts – Part-Time Workers’ Entitlement to Holiday Pay

In July 2022, the long awaited judgment in Harpur Trust v Brazel was handed down by the Supreme Court.

In this case, Ms Brazel was a music teacher employed under a zero-hours, term-time contract meaning she worked variable hours.  The question before the Supreme Court was whether her holiday pay accrued at 12.07% (promoted by ACAS at the time, as workers who work 46.4 weeks a year receive 5.6 weeks of annual leave, meaning it accrues at a rate of 12.07% of the hours worked) or, as Ms Brazel argued, she was entitled to 5.6 weeks, calculated using her average earnings over the 12-week period immediately before the holiday was taken (discounting any weeks where she was not paid), per the approach in the Working Time Regulations.

In determining this matter, the Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision and agreed with Ms Brazel, meaning that such workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks, paid at their average earnings over the previous 52 weeks, ignoring any weeks where the person did not work.  This calculation results in a more generous outcome that provided under EU law with Ms Brazel being proportionately better holiday pay when compared with full time staff.

Therefore, for part-time and irregular staff, holiday pay should be calculated based on their average earnings for the 52 weeks (at the time of the case, it was 12 weeks but this has changed to 52 weeks) worked immediately before their holiday. Virtually all schools are likely to be impacted by this decision.

At a recent webinar Graham Vials and Tom Shears in our Employment team discussed the case in detail, covering the key aspects that employers in education should be aware of.

Watch the full video below

If you have any questions about this topic, or if you would like to discuss any other matters, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Expert Employment lawyers.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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