Employment: EAT rules “field breaks” count toward annual leave

18 January 2012 |

In an important decision for the oil and gas industry, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) has reversed a previous decision that “field breaks”, that is time spent onshore by offshore workers, cannot count towards statutory minimum holiday entitlement.

Majority decision

The EAT held by a majority that offshore workers can be required to take annual leave during field breaks, provided employers comply with the notice procedure specified in the Working Time Regulations 1998 (“WTR”).  The EAT stated it was irrelevant that industry work patterns meant employees would not otherwise have been working during field breaks.  The crucial point was that employees are not obligated to work during field breaks and are free to take annual leave in this period.

Actions required

To comply with the notice requirements employers of offshore workers should either:

  • give employees advance notice at the start of each leave year that annual leave must be taken during field breaks;  or
  • establish collective agreements or work force agreements which state when annual leave must be taken;  or
  • include an express provision in each individual contract of  employment that annual leave must be taken to coincide with field breaks.

Further reading

Craig and another v Transocean International Resources Ltd UKEATS/0029/08/MT

For further information please get in touch.

Disclaimer

Content is for general information purposes only.  The information provided is not intended to be comprehensive and it does not constitute or contain legal or other advice.  If you require assistance in relation to any issue, please seek specific advice relevant to your particular circumstances.

Disclaimer

Content is for general information purposes only. The information provided is not intended to be comprehensive and it does not constitute or contain legal or other advice. If you require assistance in relation to any issue please seek specific advice relevant to your particular circumstances. In particular, no responsibility shall be accepted by the authors or by Abbiss Cadres LLP for any losses occasioned by reliance on any content appearing on or accessible from this article. For further legal information click here.

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