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How does holiday pay work for temps? 🏖️

If you’re temping, you’re entitled to holiday pay.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is you might not get it.

1.8 million people in the UK don’t get the holiday pay they should. 

If your agency messes you around, the process for dealing with it is complicated. In the long run, the government are going to have to fix this.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know to make sure you get paid right. This article explains:

  • that you are entitled to holiday pay from the very first hour that you work
  • how to work out how much holiday pay you should get
  • that you could be entitled to more holiday pay after twelve weeks
  • what to do if you’re not getting the right holiday pay
  • if your agency doesn’t cooperate, how to report them to the authorities
  • … or launch a tribunal claim against them.
  • What to do if you lose at tribunal
  • What to do if you win at tribunal

1) Ask your agency what kind of contract you’re on

If you have any issues getting paid holiday pay, then rule number one is to ask your agency what kind of contract you’re on.

Under the law, different contracts come with different rights to holiday pay.

You should be on an ‘agency worker contract.’

If you are, you’re entitled to paid holiday. Your agency is supposed to tell you about it when you start working for them.

If you’re on a different kind of contract, skip to section 6 below.

2) You are entitled to holiday pay from the very first hour that you work

If you’re on an agency worker contract, you are entitled to get holiday pay from the very first hour that you work in the temp job.

It’s as simple as that.

The more hours you work, the more holiday pay you’re entitled to.

Over on our ‘Ask forum, Adrian Gregory, director of temp agency Extraman in London, wrote this about holiday pay:

“It accrues from your first hour of work.

If you did one day and you earned £56 for example, then left and said ‘I don’t want to work any more’, you can say ‘can I have my holiday pay?’

You must be paid this by law.”

You can read his whole answer here.

3) Your holiday pay is 12.07% of your basic pay

Next you need to know how much holiday pay you’re entitled to.

Your holiday pay will normally be 12.07% of your basic pay.

As Adrian Gregory writes:

“To work out what 12.07% is, multiply your pay by 0.1207.

So if you are being paid £8 an hour, for example, you do 8 x 0.1207.

That’s 0.9656.

You round that up to £0.97. So after one hour of work, you’d be entitled to 97p of holiday pay.


After a seven hour day at £8 an hour you will have earned £56. So you would do £56 x 0.1207.

And you would be entitled to £6.76 of holiday pay.”

You should have signed a contract with your agency when you started. If that contract says you’re entitled to the statutory amount of holiday, then that means 12.07% of your basic pay.

It can be more. But it is illegal for it to be less.

So if you are on an agency workers’ contract, and you are getting less than 12.07% holiday pay – the 5.6 weeks statutory holiday, then talk to your agency about it.

If they don’t cooperate, then contact ACAS on 0300 123 1100, which is open 8-6pm, Mon –Fri.

They can refer the case to the government agency which enforces the law on this: the Employment Agencies Inspectorate, who make sure you get the holiday pay and prosecute the agency for not paying it to you.

4) How to work out how much paid holiday you’re entitled to

Here’s how to work out how many days of paid holiday you are entitled to.

Take the figure you have accrued in holiday pay, then work out how long it would take you to earn it.

So in the example above, after a seven hour day at £8 an hour you will have earned £56.

As we said above, £56 x 0.1207 gives you a right to £6.76 of holiday pay.

That, of course, would give you less than an hour of paid holiday. 51 minutes, to be precise.

But what if, for example, you have worked seven hours a day, five days a week, for five weeks, at £8 an hour?

You do 7 x 5 x 5 x 8

That’s £1400.

So you have earned £1400 gross in the five weeks.

To work out how much paid holiday you’re entitled to, multiply that by 0.1207.

1400 x 0.1207 = £168.98.

So you are entitled to £168.98 of holiday pay.

Now to work out how many hours that represents, divide it by your hourly wage.

168.98 ÷ 8 = 21 hours.

So you would be entitled to 21 hours of holiday pay.

If you were working a 7 hour day, that’s three days.

5) You could be entitled to more holiday pay after twelve weeks

If you’re on an agency worker contract, then you are entitled to the same rights as a permanent employee doing the same job after twelve weeks.

In other words, if you’re working alongside someone doing the same job as you, but they’re an employee of the company rather than a temp, then after twelve weeks in the same job you’re entitled to the same rights as them.

That includes the same amount of holiday pay.

Ask how many days of holiday they get each year. As long as you’re doing the same job, you’re entitled to that many days as well.

More information on this is here.

If your agency doesn’t give it to you already, there’s advice on what to do in section 7 below.

6) If you’re on a different kind of contract

If you’re on a different kind of temp contract, things could be different.

For example, if you’re on a pay-between-assignments contract, then in law, you’re an employee of the temp agency, not an agency worker.

It’s best to ask to go on an agency workers’ contract if you can.

But if you are on one, then you will be entitled to however many days of holiday it says in your contract.

By law, it has to be 5.6 weeks .

It can be more. But it is illegal for it to be less.

Unfortunately, some agencies ask you to be self-employed. If you’re self-employed, you’re not entitled to holiday pay.

But remember – even if your agency tells you to be self-employed, that doesn’t mean you are! They can be wrong. If they are, you should be getting holiday pay while you’re temping. The first thing to do is read the article, work out whether they are right to tell you you’re self-employed, and follow the instructions there accordingly if not. 

If you can ask your agency for a normal agency contract, I recommend it. 

7) What to do if you’re getting the wrong holiday pay

If you’re getting the wrong holiday pay, the first thing to do is to talk to your agency about it.

Make sure that before the conversation you work out how much you should be entitled to to date, and how much you actually got, so you can have the conversation.

If they give it to you, well done! Enjoy your holiday! 🏖️

8) If you’re missing out on holiday pay, option #1: report your agency to the authorities

If your agency don’t cooperate with you, the best thing to do to begin with is to report them to the Employment Agencies Inspectorate – the government agency which enforces the law on agencies.

Unfortunately, the way the system is set up for this is more complicated than it needs to be – that is the polite way of putting it – so bear with me.

There are two things you need to bear in mind before you contact them. Here’s the first one.

Officially, it is not the Employment Agencies Inspectorate’s job to deal with holiday pay. 🙄

Unofficially, though, if you tell them your agency hasn’t given you the right holiday pay, they will normally want to check whether it was being shady in other areas which it is their job to deal with. So in practice they are likely to get in touch with your agency.

That matters, because sometimes all it takes to get agencies to pay you the right holiday pay is a call or an email from the Inspectorate.

So if you’re having issues with your holiday pay, the first step should be to get in touch with the Employment Agencies Inspectorate.

And here’s the second thing you need to bear in mind.

Unfortunately, the Inspectorate can only take on this issue if you count as a ‘worker.’ To work out if you do, start here. But if you work with an agency, you will probably count as a worker.

Anyway, the simplest thing to do is just to call ACAS, describe your work, and let them advise you whether you do. Then get in touch with the Inspectorate.

To do that, you have to go through ACAS. Call them on 0300 123 1100, explain the situation, and ask to be put through to the Employment Agencies Inspectorate. Lines are open 8-6pm, Mon –Fri.

9)  If you’re missing out on holiday pay, option #2: launch an employment tribunal – but there’s a time limit

If the Employment Agencies Inspectorate doesn’t resolve the situation, the next option is to take advice on whether you can take your agency to an Employment Tribunal.

That means taking them to a court which only deals with employment law. It’s called ‘presenting a claim’ to the tribunal.

But there is a time limit for you to make the claim. You can only do it within three months minus one day from the day after the problem.

So if they’ve not paid you holiday pay, that means you can only do it three months minus one day after the day they should have. That’s the last time you were paid.

Or if they’ve paid you holiday pay wrongly, you can only do it three months minus one day after the day they’ve made the wrong payment.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not still working for that agency then, you can still make the claim. 

Start by calling ACAS on the number above. Explain the situation and get their opinion on whether this is appropriate for your situation.

If you take the agency to a tribunal and you need to be represented by a law firm cheaply, a good place to start is by finding a law centre in your area. Start by putting in your postcode here.

If you do any of this, let us know how you get on in our thread on this article in Howbox ‘Ask.’

If you’ve missed out on this deadline, you might still be able to make a claim through the County Court. There’s more information in the next section.

10)  What to do if you lose at tribunal

If you lose the tribunal, you could appeal. If you haven’t already taken legal advice, a local law centre could help. Start by typing in your postcode.

If the issue happened in the last six years, you can go via the County Court. Start online here.

You need to register, launch your claim online, and pay £25 which you get back if you are successful.

Your claim is then assessed by a judge. If they judge that the organisation owes you the money, the place where you worked gets a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against their name and will have to pay it to you.

11) What to do if you win at tribunal

Now for the really crazy part: if you win the tribunal, it doesn’t mean you’ll get paid your holiday pay.

Although it’s hard to believe, some companies just ignore employment tribunals… and they often get away with it. This is nuts, obviously, and it’s something we’d like to do some campaigning on in future. If you have any thoughts on this, let us know on the thread.

But to give yourself the best chance of getting the money if you win your claim, here’s what to do.

First, give your agency a few weeks to pay you. If they still haven’t, the first step is to get in touch with them and let them know that if they don’t, they can be fined by the Employment Agencies Inspectorate – the agency that enforces the law in this area.

And if they still don’t receive the money, contact the Employment Agencies Inspectorate by filling in this form.

The Inspectorate will write to your agency saying it has to pay you within 28 days. If it doesn’t they they will have to pay a fine.

If your agency still doesn’t respond, they’ll have to deal with bailiffs.

 

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Has this information helped you? Is there anything wrong with this? Let us know! contactus@how-box.com

Do you get holiday pay as a temp? Have your agency worked out your holiday pay correctly? If not, have you asked them about it? What happened? Have you contacted the Employment Agencies Inspectorate or put in an Employment Tribunal claim? If you are somewhere on this process, tell us about it. Join the discussion in the ‘Ask‘ section, here.

If you’re a temp or on an agency contract, please do our survey! It takes about two minutes and it’ll help us make Howbox better.

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