Falling foul of employment law no longer ‘inevitable’

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20 November 2014


As the holiday pay row heads for a review and possibly to the Court of Appeal, it’s no wonder that many employers regard mistakes and Employment Tribunals as being an inevitable part of business life. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Those holding ARAG commercial legal protection cover benefit from guidance that can steer them through the constantly changing minefield of legislation, legal challenges and appeals that define correct procedures. Advice from ARAG is available online and from telephone helplines, so it’s up-to-the-minute-correct and complemented by regular newsletters and e-mail alerts.

“Employment queries are by far the most common problems our teams are asked to assist with”, comments David Haynes, ARAG’s head of underwriting and marketing. “Even the most experienced HR professionals know how easy it is to get things wrong and constantly check with us on the latest situation. For smaller employers, with fewer resources, the helplines and on-line guides prove invaluable in day-to-day problem solving. Everyone wins”.

Recent headlines highlighted three similar disputes in a ground-breaking case at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT); this resolved whether regular overtime, bonus payments or other ‘normal’ supplements should be included in holiday pay. Yet this is not the full story and a number of grey areas still exist. Voluntary overtime, backdated claims and the ‘urgent’ government review – let alone that possible Appeal Court application – muddy the waters.
On the face of it, the EAT ruling suggests that UK companies have been interpreting the EU Directive wrongly.  As things stand today employers should be paying supplements and overtime as part of holiday pay. They should also be putting right any underpayments, provided the interval between underpayments is no greater than three months. Any ruling referred to the Court of Appeal could mean that the absolutely definitive decision may be years away. In the meantime, policyholders can check ARAG free advice services for the current position.



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