A window salesman who went more than a decade without paid holiday recently received the backing of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in a case which will have wide-reaching implications for employers and employees alike.
Conley King, the former employee at the centre of the legal battle, had been taken on by The Sash Window Workshop on a self-employed basis.
But after his 13 year stint at the firm came to an end in 2012, an Employment Tribunal subsequently found that Mr King should in fact have been treated as a worker and should have had access to a number of rights he was denied – including a paid holiday entitlement.
The ECJ was asked to rule whether he could claim payment for the entire length of his employment with the business. Now with European Judges having ruled there was in fact no limit on the number of months of his employment that the Mr King could claim unpaid holiday for, the matter has been referred back to the UK’s own Court of Appeal for a further ruling.
The head of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, described the judgment as a “game-changer.”
A spokesman for The Sash Window Workshop said: “We would like to reiterate that at no point was [Mr King] prevented by us from taking any time off for holiday or otherwise, as there was no requirement for him to request it or for us to agree to it.”
Lara Murray, a Palmers Associate and employment law expert, said: “This is one of a growing number of cases which tend to indicate that the Courts are willing to look behind the label placed on working relationships and as such, it is of vital importance that employers take legal advice when considering engaging someone on a self-employed basis.
“The fact that the ECJ has ruled in Mr King’s favour will have implications for a number of similar disputes and it will be interesting to see what the Court of Appeal decides to do when proceedings resume in the UK.”
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