In the ever-perplexed issue of calculating holiday pay for part-time workers, the European Court of Justice has determined that where a worker increases their working hours, any statutory annual leave entitlement already accrued at that point does not then need to be recalculated retrospectively to reflect the increase in working hours.

However, statutory annual leave entitlement should be recalculated from the point the worker increases their working hours, to reflect the new working pattern. If the worker has taken more annual leave than they have accrued, based on their entitlement prior to increasing their working hours, that annual leave should be offset against the worker’s total annual leave entitlement.

In this case, a worker who had been working part time had already taken more than her accrued annual leave entitlement by the time she increased her working hours. The worker was paid for seven days’ annual leave at a time when she was working only one day a week. Therefore, the annual leave entitlement she had taken at that time equated to seven weeks’ leave, because she only needed to take one day off work each week during that period to have a whole week off work. This meant the worker had already exceeded her statutory annual entitlement of 5.6 weeks. The effect of this was that although the worker’s annual leave entitlement was increased when she increased her hours, she had already taken in excess of her annual leave entitlement and so she was not entitled to any additional time off.

This decision may mean that workers who work part time and increase their hours may find they do not see any real benefit in terms of additional paid holiday entitlement if they have already taken more than 5.6 weeks’ annual leave. This case may be of particular interest in calculating holiday pay for agency workers whose hours of work vary.

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This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.