Term-time only workers: UNISON legal victory secures minimum paid annual leave

All workers in the UK will now receive the same minimum level of paid annual holiday leave, regardless of how many hours they work, following a landmark legal judgment by the Supreme Court in July.

The case, Harpur Trust v Brazel & UNISON, was taken by music teacher Lesley Brazel. She argued her employer was wrong to give her fewer days of annual leave than the legal minimum because she only worked during the school term.

The branch has reported on this case before and was in touch with its term-time only (TTO) members in 2020. We negotiated an agreement with WSCC on how it would implement the Brazel judgement if the appeal against it was successfully defended by UNISON, which it now has been.

The branch will now be working with the council to put the court’s judgment into effect as soon as possible, in line with the agreement we made with them back in 2020. This will mean a beneficial change to the way pay is calculated for TTO staff on lower grades, a sum to account for the council’s liability for back pay and a contribution made to members’ pension schemes by the council to account for under-contributing to pensions.

Commenting on the judgment, branch secretary Dan Sartin said, “This is an important clarification of the law and one which will provide a benefit to thousands of UNISON members, particularly those who work in schools. Once again this shows the benefit of union membership, which improves the world of work for all of us. Our next job will be to ensure that other West Sussex employers implement the judgment. We are already in discussion with Chichester College Group, the largest further education provider in the county, and will approach non-maintained schools and academies.”