Govt working time plans under fire

A Government consultation paper proposing changes to the UK's working time regulations is unlawful, senior employment lawyers claim.

The paper aims to put the UK in line with the European Working Time Directive. The UK was found to be breaching it by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the recent case brought by the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (Bectu) against the UK.
However, lawyers said the paper still breaches the European directive as it proposes that holiday entitlement will not start until a worker has worked for one month. The directive provides for the right to paid holiday to begin accruing from the first day of employment.
Daniel Barnett, employment barrister at 2 Gray's Inn Square, said: “A one-month qualifying period is just as unlawful as a 13-week qualifying period. The Government seems to be copying what happens in France, Ireland, Spain and Italy, where workers accrue one or two days holiday for each complete month worked. Just because none of these countries have been taken to the ECJ yet doesn't make it legal.”
The ECJ held in Bectu UK that the UK's working time regulations stating that the right to paid holiday does not accrue until workers have been employed for 13 weeks, is unlawful.
It is expected that this ruling will particularly affect those working in the media, cleaning, catering, supply teachers and security services, as many with these types of jobs work on short-term contracts.