In a blow against precarious work, senior judges have ruled all workers are entitled to a minimum of 28 days paid annual leave, even if they do not get given work or are not paid for parts of the year.
The ruling is likely to benefit hundreds of thousands of workers on part-time or insecure contracts in a range of sectors.
The Court of Appeal found that employers must use the average amount a worker on irregular hours is paid over the last 12 working weeks to calculate how much they should receive for a week’s holiday pay.
For those with regular hours, their pay for a week’s annual leave should be the same as their weekly wage.
The case was a victory for part-time music teacher Lesley Brazel, who with support from her trade union took her employer, the charity Harpur Trust, to court after it paid just 12 per cent of her regular wages during her holiday.
After four years of legal proceedings, the Court of Appeal found in Brazel’s favour, ruling that she is entitled to receive 28 days paid holiday a year, calculated at the rate of a week’s pay.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner hailed the court’s decision and called on the government “to put a floor” under the dizzying array of exploitative employment practices workers are subjected to.
“Far too many people are barely eking out a living in low-paid, insecure jobs – whether it’s zero- or short-hours contracts, bogus self-employment, agency work or any of the multiplying varieties of precarious work arrangements,” Turner said.
“The government needs to put a floor underneath all workers’ rights. Otherwise living standards will fall even further and peoples’ working lives will become increasingly insecure.”