Court supports salesman’s unpaid holiday time claim

A former sash window salesman has made British legal history by successfully arguing that he is owed more than £27,000 in back payments for holiday pay he was denied over his 13 year career. The court ruled Conley King should have been given full employment rights as a worker, rather than the self-employed status his employer gave him, which affords him a variety of rights including a pension, paid sick leave and paid holidays.

The employer, The Sash Window Workshop, argued that Mr King had been self-employed for his entire time at the company, and therefore had not been denied his holiday entitlement, as he was not obliged to work. However, the Judge at the European Court of Justice ruled that the former salesman was mis-categorised as self-employed, and so had been unfairly denied the rights of a worker.

This landmark ruling is a potential minefield for companies who employ extensively in the so-called ‘gig economy’, in which workers are paid by the job rather than earning a regular salary, because it opens the door to a potential flood of claims. Workers from taxi drivers to motorcycle couriers could potentially take legal action against employers who are alleged to have classed them as self-employed while having them do the work of a full-time member of staff, thereby denying them holiday pay and pension contributions.

What does this mean for you?

For contractors, this is a game-changer that may finally allow redress for any unpaid holiday claim that has remained unheard. Through this ruling, the European Courts are getting tough on employers who don’t pay their dues, and try to avoid their legal obligations by mis-classifying workers as self-employed whilst benefitting from their inability to take paid holiday.

If you recognise the problem Mr King faced, or you are a contractor who feels you are treated like a full-time member of staff but without the proper compensation, get in touch with Mackrell & Thomas Solicitors. We can help you fight your holiday pay claim case, and receive the money you deserve for the work you performed over several years.