Now and again, we get an employment law decision from the Supreme Court that is very important. When this happens employers need to sit up and take note.
The decision in Harpur Trust v Brazel is one of the those decisions, particularly for our clients in the education sector and also for those in the hospitality sector.
In terms of the legal implications of the decision, we can’t put it any better than Simon Bevan, employment partner at VWV, has in this excellent article and we would urge you to review this if you haven’t done so already.
I Think We’re Impacted, What Next?
If you employ part-year and irregular hours workers and retain them on a year round basis, then you may well be impacted and you’ll need to take the time to work through the questions that Simon identifies. This may not be straightforward and you will not be alone in seeking some specialist assistance with this. Do get in touch and we can help support and signpost you.
While We Work This Out, What Should We Say to Staff?
You might be getting questions from staff and if this is the case, it may be prudent to issue a holding communication to say that you are aware of the judgment and are considering it.
Alternatively, you might decide to hold off with any communications until you’ve had an opportunity to consider the implications and decide on how you want to address matters such as your contractual arrangements and any backpay due to staff.
Whichever route you choose, we would urge you to tackle this issue head on as it’s not something that it going to go away and proactively tackling it will help you to manage your costs and budget in the longer term.