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Holiday Pay: What’s Changing?

Holiday pay is a notoriously difficult subject, meaning it’s also a popular subject that our clients often understandably need help with. The government have (finally!) addressed this, and a consultation has been opened – we don’t want to speak too soon, but will hopefully mean simplification of the process is coming!

Back in July 2022, it was confirmed by the Supreme Court that workers who only work part of the year should receive 5.6 weeks’ statutory holiday pay (Harpur Trust v Brazel), meaning that if any worker has a continuing contract throughout the year, despite only working certain periods (e.g. term-time workers) still have to have their holiday pay calculated the same as full-time employees.

The consultation:

  • runs from 12th January-9th March 2023 and has come to fruition to ensure holiday pay and entitlement is directly proportionate to the time an individual spends working
  • proposes introducing a 52-week holiday entitlement reference period, which would bring calculations in line with entitlements received by part-time workers who work the same number of hours across the year (This would include weeks in which workers did not work, such as teaching assistants who only work during term time)
  • including unworked weeks would create an incentive for employers to give employees only a small number of hours a week, rather than none at all
  • plans to simplify how entitlement is calculated, legalising the method whereby employers work out 12.07% of total hours worked across working and non-working weeks
  • asks Employers how they currently calculate entitlement and whether implementing the suggested methods would work.

The debate around changing holiday pay calculation has sparked from the aforementioned case of a visiting music teacher at Harpur Trust, Ms Brazel, who worked during term-time on a zero-hours contract. Her hours were variable from week to week and she was only paid for the hours she taught.

The amount of holiday she accrued was determined by the number of hours she worked, and the Trust pro-rata’d the 5.6 weeks’ entitlement to calculate her holiday entitlement. Ms Brazel took the Trust to Tribunal, claiming that their approach when calculating her holiday meant that she received under her entitlement.

Both The Court of Appeal and Supreme Court decided in favour of Ms Brazel, and ruled that because her contract spanned the whole year (even though she only worked part of it), she was in fact entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday.

This means that Employers should now follow this ruling, however, caused further confusion regarding how casual staff working part of the year should be approached in terms of holiday accrual and pay, and of course whether this would mean that employees would be entitled to historic pay if holiday hadn’t been calculated this way prior to the case.

We think it’s positive that the current consultation period is short, suggesting that the government are treating the issue as high priority. It may well result in part-year workers being treated comparably to part-time workers where holiday entitlement is concerned.

This would certainly be more equitable than under current law, whereby part-year workers can end up with more leave and pay than a part-time worker despite sometimes working less hours annually.

Any upcoming changes will particularly affect the education sector, where term-time contracts are often more popular than any other kind. Those who engage zero-hours workers, variable hours workers and agency staff will also be affected.

For now, Harpur Trust v Brazel rules should be used to calculate annual leave for part-year workers until the consultation concludes… Watch this space!

If you do need any help with annual leave calculations, pay, or anything else HR-related, please give us a call on 0161 603 2156 and our friendly Supportis team will explore how we can help your business flourish.


How to make sure the work Christmas Party doesn’t get out of hand…

As life is largely back to pre-pandemic activity levels and work socials have resumed, French courts have recently ruled that ‘Mr T’ (not of A-Team fame!) was wrongfully dismissed for opting out of his workplace’s drinking culture. On termination of his employment, ‘professional incompetence’ was cited as the reason for dismissal. However, the Court was later told that it was actually based around his unwillingness to join social activities with colleagues, such as seminars and weekend trips that had involved bullying, promiscuity and excessive drinking.

It was decided by the court that by virtue of his freedom of expression, Mr T was not obliged to participate in such activities and had every right to sit out of socialising.

Although this case was not an English tribunal case, it does serve as a reminder to all employers that if employees aren’t under any obligation to participate in extra-curricular activities in their own time and they shouldn’t be personally or professionally penalised for this.

Colleagues must be aware that pressuring anyone to join in festivities risks being construed as harassment or bullying and even borders on discriminatory, specifically if the refusal is based around a protected characteristic such as religion or race.

As we enter the festive party season, another point for employers to be aware of is the fact that employers can be held legally liable for any unsavoury actions of their employees committed ‘in the course of their employment’ which includes social events like Christmas parties.

One pertinent such case was Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Limited (NRL) [2018] in which a manager struck another employee following a Christmas party. The victim of the attack suffered serious traumatic brain damage and subsequently successfully sued the company.

Furthermore, potentially dangerous territory can be identified as a result of combining employees having been unable to ‘properly’ socialise in-person for almost 3 years, and sexual harassment knowledge and awareness having significantly increased in the post #MeToo era.

Ironically therefore, it’s not sitting out of social events which should be the concern of UK employers but in fact, joining in (and overstepping the mark!) at the time of the year when merriment is encouraged.

A recent report from CIPD has revealed that 10% of UK employees were disciplined (some even dismissed!) following inappropriate behaviour at the work Christmas party. The most popular reasons cited for disciplinary action were:

  • 29% – fighting
  • 19% threatening behaviour
  • 17% – sexual harassment
  • 12% – bullying
  • 7% other inappropriate conduct – including insulting managers, inappropriate activity on workplace premises and even unsavoury use of the photocopier!

So what can employers do to combat unacceptable behaviour at the Christmas party?

Of course, employers can only do what is reasonably practicable to prevent unacceptable behaviour taking place, some ideas are:

Make it clear before the event that the same behaviour expectations apply to work social events as they do in the workplace in regard to what is appropriate, bullying, harassment etc. We send our clients a template email message and note to send out to their employees within good time from the event date – bear in mind that leaving it too late to send out might mean you’ve missed the boat as many employees will book the day or afternoon of the event off to prepare and travel down

Check your venue is accessible to all, your menu caters for all requirements and any entertainment is not based around alcohol e.g. giving away alcohol as prizes or encouraging drinking games.

Nominate a manager to subtly monitor amounts of alcohol consumed, and ensure non-alcoholic drinks are distributed between the festivities.

Carefully choose any external entertainers (speakers, comedians, magicians etc.) to ensure beforehand that their comments and acts don’t constitute harassment – which covers “words spoken”.

Finally, if any incidents do occur, it’s so important to investigate them thoroughly and promptly. We can advise on disciplinary and grievance procedures – if you do need any help with anything mentioned in this article or anything else HR/Employment Law related, please contact us at [email protected] or on 0161 603 2156, we’ll be happy to assist.

Meet our Supportis Head of Service at Supportis, Alan Mills…

Brief description of your role: Head of the Service Team who deliver HR advice, consultancy work and setting up HR processes from scratch to SME clients 💼

First job: Royal Navy 🚢

My commute listen: Talk sport ⚽

Favourite food & drink: Italian and red wine 🍷

Desert island disc: Dark side of the Moon – Pink Floyd 🌔

Currently reading: Never – Ken Follett 📖

Currently watching: Bull 🐮

Sending to Room 101: The Kardashians 👋

3 Dream dinner guests: Winston Churchill, Marcus Wareing, Freddie Flintoff 🏏

Specialist subject: Accrington Stanley ⚽

Best thing about working at Supportis: Working with a great team and a solid dependable company 🤝


If you think your business could benefit from our 24/7 HR, Employment Law and H&S services, please give us a call on 0161 603 2156 to see how we can help your business flourish.

Meet the Team

We’re proud to have an expert team of advisors here at Supportis, servicing our valued clients round the clock with any HR and Employment Law queries they may have.

In our new ‘5 minutes with…’ series, we’re giving you a look into our team – starting with our Employment Law Consultant Team Leader, Katie McLoughlin…

Brief description of your role:

Providing commercial yet thorough employment law advice to clients, and guiding them through essential HR processes

First job:

Sales Assistant in a department store

My commute listen:

Radio 1

Favourite food & drink:

Carbonara and Pink gin with lemonade

Desert island disc:

Mumford and Sons – I Will Wait

Currently reading:

Game of thrones

Currently watching:

Greys Anatomy

Sending to Room 101:

Pineapple pizza

3 Dream dinner guests:

Greg Davies, Lewis Capaldi, Judi Love

Specialist subject:

Harry Potter (Employment Law if it needs to be professional!)

Best thing about working at Supportis:

I get on so well with my team and the environment is just so friendly and welcoming

Monday 19 September will be a national bank holiday to coincide with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral, and to mark the last day of the period of national mourning.

This will allow individuals, businesses and other organisations to pay their respects to Her Majesty and commemorate Her reign.

This bank holiday will operate in the same way as other bank holidays, and there is no statutory entitlement to time off. Employers may include bank holidays as part of a worker’s leave entitlement.

The bank holiday will take place across the United Kingdom.

More information

The bank holiday will be a unique national moment, and the UK government are encouraging employers to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take time off.

Does this bank holiday mean individuals can have the day off work?

This is at your discretion as an employer. There is no statutory entitlement to time off for bank holidays, but employers may include bank holidays as part of a worker’s leave entitlement.

The government cannot interfere in existing contractual arrangements between employers and workers. However, the UK government have announced that they expect many workers will be able to take the day off on the bank holiday. Employers are to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take the day of the funeral off work.

Some employment contracts ask individuals to work some Saturdays/bank holidays. Can these individuals take this bank holiday off work?

This is at your discretion as an employer.

If an individual will have to work on the day of the funeral – can they take an additional day’s holiday another day?

This is at your discretion as an employer.

If an individual will have work on the day of the funeral – will they be paid extra?

This is at your discretion as an employer. There are no statutory rules regarding extra pay on bank holidays.

If an individual has annual leave booked for the day of the funeral – will they be able to reclaim this leave?

This is at your discretion as an employer.

Will this bank holiday apply everywhere in the UK?

Yes, this bank holiday will apply in all parts of the UK.

Is this an official bank holiday, or does it have a special status?

This bank holiday is official and applies in the same way as all others.

Was King George VI’s funeral a National Holiday?

No, King George VI’s funeral was not a bank holiday, but the government wants to help give as many people as possible the opportunity on the day of the State Funeral to mark Her Majesty’s passing and commemorate Her reign.

Will there be a bank holiday for the Coronation?

No decision has yet been made. A decision will be made nearer the time.

Will the bank holiday to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral be an annual holiday?

There are currently no plans for an annual holiday.

Will schools be closed on the day of the bank holiday?

Yes, schools will be closed, we are not asking them to remain open on the day of the bank holiday.


Supportis are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen. She faithfully served the nation as our Sovereign during her long, happy and glorious reign. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to The Royal Family.

The emergence of quiet quitting

Lockdown saw the emergence of a wave of people trying to instil the idea of ‘hustle culture’, capitalising on their new-found free time with business ventures such as producing and selling beauty products, wax melt, candles etc. There’s also been a surge of employees taking up a second job, aka a ‘hobby job’ and passive income such as investments, selling Etsy printables and other digital services have rocketed the last couple of years amongst younger generations, to boost income and ensure every second of the day is capitalised on.

Contrastingly, the idea of ‘quiet quitting’, in which disgruntled employees do the bare minimum at work, as they ‘work to live not live to work’ has come to prominence this year, particularly on social media, much to the concern of employers who are already facing extra challenges such as adjusting to post-pandemic people management.

Quiet quitting’s inception appears to be TikTok, and in essence it’s doing the working bare minimum required in order to retain a job. Employees engaging in this practice will not seek out new challenges or projects, and seems to nod to the wider anti-work movement which the pandemic has exacerbated amongst millennials and Gen Z.

Work-life balance vs. quiet quitting

We must stress, quiet quitting is not simply ensuring tasks are completed within working hours and arriving and leaving work at your allotted time. Time management and boundary-setting are to be praised. However, it does seem to be the lack of a work-life balance that has seen the rise of quiet quitting.

Reddit, a self-proclaimed ‘network of communities where people can dive into their interests, hobbies and passions’, host an active ‘anti-work’ forum, in which one contributor stated that they felt burnt out after pressure to work extended hours and not utilise annual leave.

Subsequently, the value that some people place on their employment is declining. A recent survey found that over 51% of young full-time workers said the pandemic had ‘decreased the importance [they] place on [their] career.’ 63% of all British workers said they had recently experienced burnout, and only 49% considered their work-life balance as ‘good’. This opens up debate around the positives and negatives of the pandemic fusing the workplace with the home; smartphones mean many of us struggle to set proper boundaries with work, responding to emails at all hours.

Open communication

If you’re concerned about quiet quitting in your workplace, it’s important to ensure there’s open communication between senior management and the wider workforce! Having adequate staff in place, checking that employees are coping with their workload and setting the expectation that long hours should be the exception, not the norm are all ways to combat quiet quitting. Overworking almost always ends up counter-productive when employees end up burnt out and resentful.

Moreover, employees should be engaged with your company’s mission and eager for new opportunities to contribute to it.

Be pro-active!

Anonymised surveys are a great way to gauge how employees are feeling. If you’re confident that you personally encourage employees to have a healthy work-life balance and have an open line of communication with them, there will be no anxiety around hosting such a survey.

Hosting regular one-to-ones with employees to check on how they are, discuss their evolving workplace goals and possible opportunities for advancement will guarantee that your workforce will feel more comfortable approaching you with any concerns in the future. Don’t forget remote workers in this process, as often they can be overlooked if not a physical presence in the office, however, they should also feel motivated and part of the mission.

If you think your business could benefit from our 24/7 HR, Employment Law and H&S services, please give us a call on 0161 603 2156 to see how we can help your business flourish.

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If you'd like to find out more about how Supportis can help your business flourish then give us a call on 0161 603 2156 or send us an email.

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