Since the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the Brazel case last year, a key area of focus for schools has been part-year and irregular hours workers' holiday entitlement. Following the Government's recent announcement that it will introduce a pro-rata mechanism to calculate holiday entitlement for these workers, Alice Reeve considers what the changes mean for academies and maintained schools.
The Government has published draft regulations to make a number of changes to the Working Time Regulations, including in respect of part-year and irregular hours workers' holiday entitlement. When the Regulations take effect, they will introduce an accrual method to calculate holiday entitlement for part-year and irregular hours workers, at 12.07% of the hours worked in a pay period. A legal definition of "part-year worker" and "irregular hours worker" will be introduced, and if desired, employers will be entitled to pay rolled-up holiday pay at the statutory rate of 12.07% for these workers.
It has been widely reported that the draft regulations will come into force on 1 January 2024. This indeed is the case, although the specific regulations that introduce the pro-rata mechanism for part-year and irregular hours workers' holiday entitlement will take effect in respect of leave years beginning on or after 1 April 2024. This means that practically speaking, most schools will be looking to make changes if appropriate, to reflect the new law from 1 September 2024, when the new leave year starts.
Schools will want to review their contractual arrangements in light of these changes. It may be appropriate to update contracts of employment, consulting with staff as necessary in respect of any proposed changes. Schools who incorporate Green Book terms for support staff may also wish to consider their position in respect of part 4.12 of the Green Book, which advises topping up holiday pay to 5.6 weeks in light of the Brazel decision. It is worth noting that this part of the Green Book is advisory only, so schools may wish to consider their approach in respect of departing from this guidance and explaining any such departure to staff.
We would be pleased to provide individual support and advice to schools as required in respect of these projects.