The CBI are warning that employers are facing the risk of significant additional costs, potentially 'billions of pounds', from employment tribunals challenging the normal calculation of holiday pay under the Working Time Regulations (WTR).
In the UK holiday pay is currently calculated on the basis of a 'week's pay' which is based on basic salary and excludes payments such as working allowances, expenses, overtime, commission and bonus payments as these payments relate to specific work done by an employee whilst performing their duties of employment.
A recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgment redefined holiday pay to include an allowance for commission, even though commission is paid on sales made and the employee would not have delivered those sales whilst on holiday.
If liabilities on holiday pay are backdated then employers may face huge liabilities for holiday pay arrears.
Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:
'Backdated claims on holiday pay could lead to bills of millions of pounds for each business, and ultimately threaten their very existence.'
'Businesses that have done the right thing and fully complied with UK law suddenly face the threat of substantial additional costs. And the companies most at risk are in vital sectors for our economy, such as manufacturing, construction and civil engineering.'
'Moving the legal goalposts in this way is unacceptable. Although most businesses believe we are better off in a reformed EU, there is a real danger of expansive decisions being made by the European Court of Justice on the UK labour market. As part of an EU reform programme, this has to be addressed and it's time to put a stop to back-door EU employment law being made.'
'We need the UK Government to take a strong stand and do all it can to remove this threat. Otherwise we face the very real prospect of successful firms in this country going out of business, with the jobs they provide going too.'
Cases on commission and overtime are currently in progress and we will keep you informed of developments. Meanwhile the CBI is calling for the Government to use its powers under British law to limit the retrospective liability UK employers face.
Internet link: CBI press release