Employees with intermittent or irregular work patterns (genuine casual work)
Many employees who are described as “casual” are part-time employees whose future employment is actually clear – for example, supermarket or hospitality employees whose work pattern is established on a fortnightly roster. These employees are entitled to four weeks’ holiday.
For a minority of employees, however, this is not the case.
Generally, these are employees whose employment is triggered by an event that cannot be accurately anticipated with no expectation of ongoing employment beyond the event, or whose work pattern can be described as so irregular or intermittent that the concept of four weeks away from work is difficult to apply. In such cases, an arrangement can be agreed to add 8% of the employee’s gross earnings as annual holiday pay to their pay.
For these employees, the arrangement must be by genuine agreement and be included in the employment agreement, and the 8% annual holiday pay should appear as a separate and identifiable amount on the employee’s pay slip.
On the termination of the employment relationship, no additional pay for annual holidays is due.
If an employee agrees to enter into such an arrangement, the employer would be wise to keep it under review to see whether a regular cycle of work has developed. If this occurs, the employer and employee should enter into a new employment agreement that provides for annual holidays to accrue, and that removes the 8% payment.
Example: Genuinely irregular or intermittent employment
The Holidays Act 2003 contains no reference to “casual work” because the term is applied to so many types of employment arrangements. Instead, it refers to intermittent or irregular employment. Here are two examples of intermittent or irregular employment for the purposes of the Holidays Act:
- A retired employee who is called back in emergencies to cover for sickness.
- A specialist tradesperson who is employed only when a particular process (such as repairing a broken machine) is required.