You and the Law – 19th May 2009

Holiday pay withheld

My wife left her employment three months ago, at which point she had taken no annual leave. Her employer told her that because she hadn’t taken any holidays they were forfeited. Is this right? RT

No. Your wife was entitled to a payment in lieu of her lost holiday.

If she worked six months of the firm’s leave year, for example, she should be entitled to half her annual holiday pay.

She should use the firm’s grievance procedure to attempt to sort this out.

If necessary she could take her case to an employment tribunal, but this must normally be done within three months.

If it wasn’t ‘reasonably practical’ for her to bring her complaint within this period it may be extended. But otherwise your wife may, at this stage, have to sue her former employer for breach of contract in the County Court.

Shirking son

A friend stood as guarantor for a £1,000 computer bought by her adult son.

He hasn’t a shred of conscience and has probably sold the computer, and now he¹s stopped giving her the £14 a week repayment. Could she take him to court and have the money taken from his benefits to cover the debt? MB

I’m afraid County Court rules prohibit the equivalent of an attachment of earnings order on DWP benefits.

The best a court could offer would probably be an oral examination of the son’s means, at which repayment terms could be agreed.

But if the son failed to pay, the mother would have to apply for authorisation for a bailiff to seize goods.

These measures all cost and I think your friend would probably be throwing good money after bad.

She would probably get further by giving her son a good talking to.

Arranging a family conference may have the desired effect.

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