Thursfields warning over holiday pay for term-time workers after Supreme Court ruling

A landmark judgment on holiday pay for staff only working for parts of the year will have a “considerable impact” and “significant financial repercussions” for employers, Thursfields Solicitors has warned.

Supreme Court Ruling

The leading Midland law firm’s comments follow the Harpur Trust v Brazel ruling that staff such as term-time workers should not have their paid holiday adjusted pro-rata.

Lisa Kemp, an associate director in the Employment department at Thursfields, explained that Lesley Brazel was employed by The Harpur Trust as a music teacher on a permanent zero-hours contract.

Ms Brazel had argued the Trust was wrong to apply a pro-rata calculation to her annual leave because she only worked during the school term, claiming this method was not compliant with working time regulations.

After a long-running, legal battle, the Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed the school’s appeal, ruling in Ms Brazel’s favour.

Lisa said: “This long-awaited decision will have a considerable impact on thousands of organisations who employ staff on a zero-hours, term-time or part-year basis, a common practice across many industries particularly in the education sector.

“The ruling will have significant financial repercussions for employers given workers engaged on part-years contracts may be entitled to back-pay following the Supreme Court’s decision.

“Employers should review their holiday practices and conduct an internal audit to consider whether they are compliant with this ruling.”

Lisa said the case had been closely monitored by unions who have been actively pursuing holiday claims on behalf of term-time only staff.

This included Unison who claims the judgment means all workers in the UK should now receive the same minimum level of paid annual holiday leave, regardless of how many hours they work.

Lisa added: “This judgment means it will no longer be possible for employers to argue staff who don’t work all year are only entitled to holiday based on the hours they work.

“The repercussions  will be particularly significant in the education sector where term-time contracts are commonplace.”

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Anyone seeking advice on employment matters can contact Lisa Kemp on 0345 20 73 72 8 or by e-mailing

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