June 11, 2019

Although those working on a freelance basis aren’t usually entitled to holiday pay, a freelance journalist was awarded the right to holiday pay at an employment tribunal in Scotland.

The claimant, journalist David Walsh, was employed by Scotsman Publications Ltd on a casual basis. Despite this, he was entitled to holiday pay as a ‘worker.’

Scotsman Publications Ltd disputed this, stating that he was defined as ‘self-employed’ in the freelance contract between himself and the company.

However, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), who fought the case for Mr Walsh, were successful, resulting in the journalist receiving £8,360.

Not only has the case been a huge success for David Walsh himself, but it will have massive implications for hundreds of other freelance journalists.

Scotsman Publications Ltd was the holding company of a number of newspapers in Scotland, including Edinburgh Evening News, Scotland on Sunday, and The Scotsman.

However, it was sold to Johnston Press in 2005. The company has since filed for administration, with JPIMedia acquiring the assets.

John Toner, who is the national organiser for the NUJ in Scotland, has stated that NUJ were always confident that they would win the case because the contract did not reflect the working relationship between Mr. Walsh and Scotsman Publications Ltd.

As the agreement is still in use by JPIMedia, it is likely that there are going to be a number of implications for any other freelancers that work for the business on a casual basis.

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About the author 

James Rowland

James is the Commercial Director at Neathouse Partners and regularly writes articles surrounding issues in HR & Employment Law. Outside of the office, James is a keen Cricketer, playing in the Cheshire League for Nantwich CC. He also loves going to watch his football team, Crewe Alexandra. Feel free to connect with James on LinkedIn.

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