Holiday Headaches

Holiday Headaches

Calculating holiday can be difficult at the best of times, but schools have the added complication of staff on a number of different contracts; teaching staff, term-time workers and support staff on 52-week contracts.

There are a number of considerations for schools – since teachers are simply allowed time off during school holidays, it is difficult to specify their holiday entitlement at all and in relation to support staff, schools need to make sure their contracts allow them sufficient flexibility to require staff to take holiday at certain times. The position may be complicated further by part-time workers and a recent case in the European Court of Justice (EJC) considered whether employers need to recalculate holiday entitlement if a part-time worker increases their hours.

In the case of Greenfield v The Care Bureau Ltd, the ECJ decided that holiday entitlement for each period of work should be calculated separately, meaning that:

  • Any holiday entitlement already accrued need not be recalculated retrospectively to take account of increased working hours
  • Going forward, holiday entitlement should be recalculated to reflect the new working pattern
  • Any holiday taken in excess of the entitlement that applied under the previous working pattern should be deducted from the holiday going forward

The court confirmed that the same rules will apply whether you are calculating holiday accrual during employment, or once employment has been terminated.

This case provides high-level guidance, particularly useful when dealing with support staff, and whilst the decision is unsurprising, it is a helpful reminder of the need to address holiday entitlement when dealing with a request to vary hours.

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