Clarification needed on working time regulations

Further clarification is
needed on proposed amendments to the Working Time Regulations in relation to
paid holiday entitlement following the end of the consultation period last
week, according to law firm Eversheds.

The Working Time
Regulations (WTR) impose a qualifying period of 13 weeks employment before
which workers do not have rights to paid annual leave.

But the recent decision
of the European Court of Justice in BECTU v Secretary of State for Trade and
Industry confirmed that this qualifying period is contrary to the Working Time
Directive.

The government has subsequently
proposed amendments to the WTR, which are intended to remove the qualifying
period, by replacing it with a monthly accrual system.

Owen Warnock, employment
partner, Eversheds, does not think that this solves the problem.

He explained, “It
appears that under the proposed amendments workers are required to work one
month before any leave entitlement accrues. This seems to be as much at odds
with the Directive as is the requirement to work 13 weeks.  A month amounts to a qualifying period and
therefore still falls foul of the ECJ ruling.

“One
solution could be for workers in new jobs to accrue a pro-rata entitlement to
holiday on a daily basis, rather than the monthly basis proposed.  It is important for the Government to err on
the side of compliance in order to end uncertainty and to remove the risk of
any further legal challenges.”

By Ben Willmott

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