A window salesman has been awarded 13 years of unpaid holiday pay by the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) in the King v The Sash Window Workshop case.
Conley King had worked for the sash window company on a self-employed basis, but after having been dismissed in 2012 he brought a claim against his employer for £27,000 of unpaid holiday pay.
The ECJ ruled that Conley King did have workers’ rights, and held that despite the two-year time limit on bringing an unlawful deduction from wages claim, the Working Time Regulations are in fact incompatible with the Working Time Directive and accordingly Mr King’s claim was allowed.
The court ruled that “An employer that does not allow a worker to exercise his right to paid annual leave must bear the consequences” and decided that EU law allowed Conley King to claim payment for the entire length of his employment.
This case has wide ranging implications for any employer that uses self-employed individuals, including the ‘gig economy’. These firms could suffer significant liabilities if it is subsequently found staff should have been classed as ‘workers’.
Comment: It is worth reviewing the status of any self-employed workers to ensure they should not in fact be classed as ‘workers’ especially as the spotlight on the ‘gig economy’ doesn’t show any signs of dimming soon.