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Holiday pay claims out of time

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Time limits for bringing claims in respect of outstanding holiday pay are limited

Entitlement to statutory holiday pay extends to ‘workers’ which is a term that can apply to a much wider category of engagement than many appreciate. In those circumstances where worker status is belatedly realised there will often be the potential for claims. However the time limits for bringing claims in respect of outstanding holiday pay are relatively short as was shown in the case of Somerville v Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

Mr Sommerville submitted a claim he should have been paid an amount equivalent to the holiday pay he accrued

Mr Sommerville had sat on the Medical Tribunal for four years prior to the appointment being terminated in April 2018. He submitted a claim on 20 July 2018 that he should have been paid an amount equivalent to the holiday pay he accrued under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) in addition to his fees for sitting when he presented his invoices. In particular, he alleged that the non-payment amounted to an unlawful deduction from wages and a breach of Regulation 16 of the WTR. 

It was held that the claims had been brought too late

The claims he had presented alleged that he had not been paid the correct amounts. The time limits for these claims were three months from the date of the payment should have been made. His last payment in respect of sitting on the panel was received on 5 March. The normal time limit expired on 4 June. The time limit did not start to run from the date the appointment was terminated.
 

Key takeaway point

The decision highlights the importance of bringing the claim within the three-month time limit of the particular matter. The termination of employment does not give rise to a new cause of action in respect of holiday pay. The only exception to this that was identified in the case of King v Sash Windows was where the worker had not taken statutory holiday due to the employer refusing to pay for it. That would not apply in circumstances where the complaint relates to a shortfall in the amount of monies received. 

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