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Has your contract changed over the course of your employment? Also, do you have the agreement stating that you would be paid the outstanding holidays after 1 years' service?
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What year dd you start working for them? If you say it was 19 years ago then that would be 1997 which means that the current legislation would have been in force then and the rules are the same. Just because someone else has been paid that does not mean it allows you to legally request the same. The employer may have decided to pay it discretionally. What I am saying is that if the employer refuses to pay you, then legally you are not going to be able to make a claim to pursue it
only with the employer's approval - there is nothing stopping them from allowing that but what I am trying to make clear is that if they refuse to do this and they refuse to pay you or them you cannot make a legal claim for these days