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The Brexit outcome: a possible threat to holiday entitlement and holiday pay

There is one major blow that the UK might end up facing, and that is the risk of losing holiday pay

A study reveals that the impact of leaving the European Union could seriously affect the number of holidays and the amount of holiday pay that UK employees are entitled to. This news comes as the value of the pound slides, making holidays abroad much more expensive.

The campaign group, Vote Leave Watch, said that employers could potentially challenge current holiday legislation. Some of the legislation affected could involve the entitlement to annual holiday whilst on long-term sick leave, limiting or removing rolled up holiday pay entitlements, and generous calculations of holiday pay.

Recently, the case of Williams v British Airways plc ruled that it was illegal to exclude bonuses and allowances from holiday pay. Although the PM, Theresa May, vowed that the Conservatives would protect and improve workers’ rights, the government has much to prove. Emma Reynolds MP, from Vote Leave Watch, expressed concern that Theresa May’s speech at the Tory party conference would not mean much unless she took action to prevent employers from making legal challenges in UK courts to existing employee rights. Indeed, these are just a couple of examples of how voting to leave the EU has put a huge risk on the paid holidays of millions.

European legislation allows employees at least four weeks paid holiday per year. While the EU Working Time Directive states that leave should be paid, it does not specify what rate is applicable to that rate. In the UK, an employee is entitled to one week’s full pay per week of leave. Following Brexit, it is possible that the Government might consider revisiting this issue of what ‘full pay’ constitutes, and simplifying the calculation of holiday pay, which could prove unfair to many workers.

Following Brexit, Parliament or the Courts and Tribunals may want to adopt a simpler approach that restricts an employee’s ability to accrue annual leave during long-term illness. The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has also warned that there is no guarantee that paid holiday entitlements would be kept the same. All of this stems from the fact that the government can now decide whether or not to keep protections derived from EU laws.

Indeed, the Brexit result has caused quite a stir in the recruitment industry. It remains to be seen just what the ultimate impact will be on employee holiday rights in the UK.

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