The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has held that the holiday entitlement of a part-time worker has to be re- calculated if their hours increase, in order to reflect the new working pattern.

The Background

Ms Greenfield was employed as a care worker by Care Bureau Ltd on a part time basis. She worked differing hours each week until August 2012 when she started working a pattern of 12 days on, two days off. She was refused annual leave by her employer who stated that she had already taken her full entitlement to annual leave prior to changing hours.

Ms Greenfield brought a claim and the matter was re- ferred to the ECJ.

What does this mean?

The ECJ held that when working patterns change, an- nual leave must be recalculated to reflect the entitle- ment going forward. However, when a part-time worker increases or decreases their hours, any statutory an- nual leave that has already accrued does not need to be recalculated retrospectively to take account of the increased or decreased working hours.

Therefore, in this case, any leave taken in excess of the entitlement that applied under Ms Greenfield’s previous working pattern should have been deducted from her leave going forward. The ECJ also confirmed that the calculation of leave entitlement is the same, regardless of whether employment has terminated or is continuing.

What should employers do?

Employers should take care when calculating part time workers’ annual leave and ensure that any increase or decrease in working hours is reflected in any annual leave entitlement. Annual leave must be calculated separately for each period where the working pattern differs.

Case reference: Greenfield v The Care Bureau Limited