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28.02.2024 / News /

Company forced to pay cleaner contracted holiday leave

“You never know when you are going to need the support of your union, but one thing is clear, there’s always a first time.” Maria, cleaner and UVW member

Maria has never doubted that she needed to be a union member, whichever country she lived in. She is originally from Colombia, and lived in Spain for 16 years until moving to the UK in 2015. She joined UVW six years ago.  

In September 2023, problems began at work for her, when her bosses at Cleanology turned down her holiday requests on the basis that she had already run out of time off that year. She was surprised and checked her contract which clearly stated that her holiday runs from the 1 of January until the 31 of December, so she insisted she still had days off.

A few days later, her bosses responded that her contract had been unilaterally changed and now her leave went from the start day of her employment to the following year – in her case from 5 September – 4 September each year.

Maria was astonished. She had not been consulted or notified of these changes. She suspected this was not right. She would eventually find out this was a breach in regulations.

“A friend of mine had the same problem before, and she didn’t get anywhere by herself because she was not unionised. The bosses didn’t yield. I knew that I had to get my union involved.” Maria  said.

She contacted UVW, which tried to resolve the issue amicably, but after a few attempts to discuss the case went ignored, Maria and UVW had no choice but to launch legal proceedings.

With the threat of a court case hanging over their heads and after an early conciliation process at arbitration body Acas – the first step before a case goes to the Employment Tribunal –  Cleanology agreed to pay Maria the money they owed her for the 13 days she was not allowed to take last year. 

“It was a lot of money for me,” Maria explains. “Although I’m happy working here, I think I need to keep monitoring that I’m paid correctly and that there’s no mistakes with my leave going forward. If it happens again, I’ll have to act again.”

If you find yourself in a similar situation do what Maria did, check your employment contract and assert your rights.

You can get in touch here if you need support >>


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