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, Simon Bevan considers what the changes mean for schools.
The Government has published draft regulations to make several 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, maybe taking the opportunity to update their contracts of employment, and consulting with staff as necessary in respect of any proposed changes. We would be pleased to provide individual support and advice to schools as required in respect of these projects.
The changes that have been announced to the Working Time Regulations are some of the most significant employment law changes we have seen in recent years. We are in the process of reviewing and digesting the draft regulations, to determine what they mean for schools. We will publish an interim Employment Contracts Update in December, which will explain the contractual changes we recommend making to affected staff contracts, including those of term-time-only support staff and permanently-retained casual staff. Schools who have previously purchased our template employment contracts or our manual will be able to access the Update free of charge, and we will notify you when the Update is published.