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18:08 on Tuesday
28 October 2003

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Holiday entitlements for short-term contracts


The European Court of Justice this morning ruled that the UK’s interpretation of the Working Time Directive with regard to paid holidays is unlawful. As a result of the ruling it is most likely that the UK Working Time Regulations will have to change.

The question arose in relation to those employees on short-term contracts. Under UK rules, employees have to work 13 weeks until they are entitled to four weeks paid holiday in a year (or pro rata). This meant that many employees on short-term contracts such as in the media and working for schools etc were not allowed paid holidays.

The new ruling means that The Working Time Regulations will have to change to remove this 13-week qualification period, and that employers will have to prepare for the new measures.

There is unlikely to be a compulsion to actually take holiday in the regulations, but employers may otherwise have to make it up by additional payment in lieu for the ‘untaken’ holiday on termination.

Note - You should never act on the contents of this bulletin alone, and should always seek professional legal advice regarding to your particular situation before taking any action.

June 2001

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This article is an employment law e-ssentials bulletin produced by Hegarty & Co

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