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Newspaper publisher pays freelancer nearly £3,000 in out-of-court settlement

A freelance sub-editor received nearly £3,000 after taking his former employers to court over holiday pay.

Tony Berry started working for the Kentish Times in January 2005, doing both part-time and full-time hours.

Just over two years later was told his services were no longer required.

He spoke to the National Union of Journalists which decided that Tony had a strong case against the Times’ parent company Archant so a claim was submitted to an industrial tribunal.

Archant contested the claim on the grounds that Tony was not classed as a ‘worker’ under the Working Time Regulations but the tribunal disagreed.

Archant continued to fight against the claim and another tribunal was arranged to consider the level of compensation.

The initial claim was for £3,000 and the day before the second tribunal a cheque for just under that amount was sent to the NUJ’s solicitors.

John Toner, NUJ freelance organiser, said: “Some media companies think they can get away with using freelances without having any responsibility towards them but under employment law that isn’t always true.

“People working regular shifts can often be entitled to a range of benefits and protections, including holiday pay.

“Of course, every case is different which is why the NUJ offers individual advice to members to ensure that they understand what they are entitled to.

“This was a classic case of a company using a freelance for four days a week in the belief they had no responsibility towards him.

“If a company wants someone for four days a week, every week, it should have the decency to offer a contract of employment.”

No-one from Archant was available for comment.