ECJ Judgment – King v The Sash Window Workshop Ltd

The ECJ today handed down its judgment in King v The Sash Window Workshop Ltd C-214/16. The Court went further than Advocate-General Tanchev’s opinion handed down on 8 June this year. In finding for Mr King, the ECJ held that if a worker was not paid for his annual leave, it was not compatible with the Working Time Directive 2003/88 to require him to take unpaid leave first to establish his right to paid leave, or to prevent him (on termination) from claiming a payment in lieu back to the start of the employment relationship.

James Williams has been acting for Mr King since the start of the case in 2012. Prof Sir Alan Dashwood QC also acted for Mr King in the ECJ. Since early 2015 all their work on the case has been on a pro bono basis.

James comments that “this decision will be of great significance to many workers wrongly categorised by their employers as self-employed. In the short term they should now be able to bring, on termination of their engagement, a claim for all the holiday pay that they should have been paid during the working relationship. In the longer term, the decision should reduce the financial incentive for employers to deny that their staff are entitled to holiday pay – since if the employer gets this wrong, it must compensate the worker accordingly. This means that companies who deliberately categorise their staff as self-employed to deny them basic employment rights should no longer gain such a significant competitive advantage.”

James and Sir Alan have been instructed by Clare Gilroy-Scott at Goodman Derrick.

See link to BBC here. People Management Magazine reports online here.

See Court of Justice of the European Union press release here.

A podcast of James’ interview on the Today programme on Radio 4 shortly before the judgment was handed down is here, with the relevant extract starting just  after 8 minutes into the feature.