The weather is finally getting warmer and it looks like summer has almost arrived. There is a buzz around the office as people are getting ready to jet off on their holidays.
For business owners, covering holidays can be difficult and place short term pressure on their business, but employees and workers are entitled to take annual leave. Denying employees or workers their right to paid holiday can result in expensive claims for back dated holiday pay for the duration of the employment.
In this article Head of Employment Law at Banner Jones Solicitors, Katie Ash, runs through the key holiday entitlement facts and how to ensure that your employees are aware of their rights, allowing you to prepare in advance for any busy holiday periods.
Holiday Entitlement Key Facts
- All employees and workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 week’s paid leave each year. This equates to 28 days for those who work 5 days each week. Part time staff are entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid holiday based on the number of days they work each week.
- The 5.6 weeks holiday entitlement is inclusive of public / bank holidays.
- Holiday entitlement starts to accrue from day 1 of employment.
- A week’s pay is calculated based on a normal week’s wage. For staff who have casual or irregular working patterns a week’s pay should be calculated based on the average pay of the 12 weeks prior to the holiday, this is inclusive of any regular overtime or pay enhancements they receive.
- There is no entitlement to carry unused holiday forward unless the contract or company policy allows for this. The exception to this is if the employee has been prevented from taking holiday due to sickness or maternity.
- Unless the contract stipulates differently, when requesting leave, staff must give twice as much notice as the required leave. An employer can refuse the request but must give the same amount of notice as the amount of leave requested.
- Payment for accrued, untaken, holiday should only be made when employment has been terminated.
- Ensure your contracts and policies are up to date and cover the procedure for requesting holidays, what notice must be given and any grounds on which the request may be refused. For example, you may want to prevent team members taking holidays at the same time, or there may be busy times in the year where you need everyone to be working.
- If you intend to close the business at certain times, e.g. Christmas and bank holidays you should stipulate that their holiday entitlement includes these shutdown periods and how much holiday must be used.
- Provide details of any carry forward policy including when any carried forward holiday should be used by.
- Have a holiday rota that you can access easily and plan work around. Consider whether you need a separate rota for popular times when everyone may want to take the same time off.
- Look at using temporary cover where appropriate.
- If you offer flexible working, review your policy to check that it provides for core hours that must be worked each day otherwise you may have an empty office by Friday lunchtime!
If you require any further advice on the issues raised above or would like to update your contracts and procedures, do not hesitate to get in touch with the specialist employment and HR lawyers at Banner Jones Solicitors on 01246 560 560.