Labour Research April 2021

Law Matters

Ruling holds worker was not entitled to holiday pay

A worker who has taken annual leave, despite not being paid for it, can’t rely on the European Court of Justice’s decision in King v Sash Window Workshop [2018] ICR 693 to extend the time limit for bringing a claim, said a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruling (Smith v Pimlico Plumbers UKEAT/0211/19).

Heating engineer Gary Smith won a Supreme Court case last year against Pimlico Plumbers, establishing that he is not self-employed but a worker. As such, Smith said he’d not been paid for holiday he’d taken throughout his employment with Pimlico Plumbers.

Last month, Smith, who was claiming compensation for holiday pay relating to his time working for the firm between 2005 and 2011, lost his employment tribunal claim for £74,000 in backdated holiday pay. The EAT dismissed his appeal.

Smith ought to have made his claim for missed pay within three months of each holiday period, dating back to 2005.

And while the King decision established that a worker can’t be prevented from exercising their right to take annual leave by domestic time limits, it does not apply in a case where the worker has actually taken their annual leave.

Smith will be appealing against the decision.