Holiday pay victory for sub

FREELANCE sub-editor Tony Berry has received an out-of-court settlement from the Kentish Times in lieu of paid time off. He had been working for the Archant-owned Kentish Times since January 2005. For most of that time he had been working five shifts per week. On 23 March he was told by the editor that his services would no longer be required - with immediate effect.

Tony Berry © Tony Berry
Tony Berry with Archant's cheque for his paid time off.
He asked the Freelance Office about his rights over the cancelled shifts and the possibility of paid time off - "holiday pay" - for the time he'd worked. Freelance Organiser John Toner advised there was a good chance of getting holiday pay and Thompsons solicitors, the NUJ's lawyers, agreed

.To meet the 2006 deadline, John immediately submitted a claim to an Employment Tribunal. Archant contested it on the grounds that Tony was not a "worker" as defined by the Working Time Regulations. Examining the facts, the Tribunal concluded he had been a "worker".

Archant did not concede. Another Tribunal hearing was arranged to consider the level of compensation. The claim was for £3000: on the eve of the Tribunal Archant rushed Thompsons a cheque for nearly that. "We are delighted," Toner said. "This was a classic case of a company using a 'freelance' for four days a week in the belief they had no responsibility towards him. If a company wants someone for four days a week, every week, it should have the decency to offer a contract of employment."

Regular "casuals" can in some circumstances acquire some of the same rights as employees after two years, not four years as erroneously reported in the August Freelance. (Sorry.) After one year an employee has protec tion against unfair dismissal; after two years, there is an entitlement to redundancy pay. We should stress - again - that everybody's circumstances are different. So if you are a regular casual and you think your arrangement with a client may stand up in court as equivalent to employee status, contact the Freelance Office. You should do this as the end of your first or second year in service approaches - do not wait until the next sudden corporate downsizing.

Before you do that, do read our previous advice on the subject: see www.londonfreelance.org/faq

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