Employment Law: Strike Action and Holiday Pay | August 2023

Employment Law: Strike Action and Holiday Pay | August 2023

In recent months, there have been conclusions reached regarding a High Court case surrounding strike action, as well as the Retained EU Employment Law Bill. In this update, we take a look at both cases to share the key points employers need to know...

1. Covering Strike Action

In recent months, the UK has seen a rise in strike action causing disruption to a number of key services including transport, schools and hospitals.

Did you know that from July 2022 the UK Government changed the law to allow agencies to supply temporary workers to replace striking workers? However, on 13 July 2023, the High Court upheld the claims of the Trades Union Congress and UNISON to rule that employers can no longer use temporary workers to cover workers who are striking.

From 10 August 2023, it is therefore once again unlawful to use agency workers to cover any workers who are striking. However employers can still replace those out on strike by engaging new temporary staff directly or moving employees internally to cover essential jobs.

2. Holiday pay

On 7 July 2023, the consultation period for the Retained EU Employment Law Bill closed. The possible sunset clause that would have revoked all EU law in one go has now been scrapped, meaning that it will be more minor but still consequential changes that will become part of employment law on 31 December 2023.

Holiday entitlement

Under EU law, a worker’s annual leave consists of both a minimum of 4 weeks under the EU Working Time Directive and a domestic right to an additional 1.6 weeks. The new proposal is for the two types of annual leave to be combined into one statutory entitlement of 5.6 weeks.

It is advised that you ensure that contracts clearly reflect this change.

Rolled-up holiday pay

Employers will be permitted to pay ‘rolled-up’ holiday pay, instead of the previous practice for irregular hours workers to receive an additional amount on top of their regular pay to account for paid holiday entitlement. Employers would add an additional 12.07% to a worker’s pay.

In light of the recent changes to calculating holiday pay, a review of your holiday pay policies, specifically for casual employees, is recommended.

NB: This information is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law. However, if you have any HR issues on this or any other HR matters and would like to talk them through with our team, please contact us.

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