On zero hours and told I get no holiday

I have a zero hour contract and have contacted my employer about holiday entitlement. Firstly they told me I haven’t worked enough hours to accrue holidays, which I questioned as I work roughly 50 hours per month. They then agreed that I have accrued 70 hours leave, but they told me that all this has been taken due to bank holidays. My normal working day is either Friday into Saturday or Saturday into Sunday on a casual basis. I have never had a bank holiday off because of this; it has never been my working day. Are they right to take away my holiday entitlement without me receiving any payment?

All full-time workers have the right to a minimum of 28 days (or 5.6 weeks) paid holiday a year under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833) (WTR). Part-time workers are entitled to a pro-rated amount of paid holiday. With regards to public holidays, if an employer allows or requires you to take leave on public holidays then this may use up any accrued annual leave.

You state that you have accrued 70 hours’ annual leave, but that your employer has informed you that you have taken all accrued leave by not working on Bank Holidays. You state that your practice is to work Friday into Saturday and/or Saturday into Sunday. You state that you do not therefore work on Bank Holidays. As you do not work on Bank Holidays you cannot logically have used up accrued leave by doing so; it would therefore appear that (should you not have taken any other holiday) you remain entitled to the 70 hours’ annual leave that you have accrued.

If your employer continues to refuse to allow you to take your accrued but untaken holiday then you have the right to take a claim to the Employment Tribunal. Where an employer refuses to permit you to take statutory holiday to which you are entitled you can seek just and equitable compensation. However, you must bring a claim within three months beginning with the date on which it is alleged that the exercise of the right should have been permitted (e.g. when your employer last refused to allow you to take your accrued but untaken holiday).

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