Holidays

The minimum amount of paid leave your employees are entitled to as full time members of staff (in line with the Working Time Regulations) is 28 days per annum, which can include bank and public holidays.

Part-time employees are entitled to a pro rata amount of holiday calculated on the full-time entitlement.

There are few legal requirements governing holiday leave in the Working time Regulations. This leaves it to you as the employer to manage the details regarding holiday which should be set out either in the contract of employment or in a staff handbook. These documents are are likely to include when the company's leave year starts, whether employees can carry holiday over from one leave year to the next, and what procedures employees should follow for booking their holiday.

CAN WORKERS CARRY OVER LEAVE?

The policy behind the Working Time Regulations and the minimum holiday requirements is the recognition that workers need time off.  For this reason is not lawful for the minimum number of holidays (28 days) to be carried over from one year to the next.

However, you may decide to provide your workers with holiday over and above the minimum.  In this case it is up to you to decide whether they will allow you to carry over any holiday above the minimum 28 days  from one year to the next.  That said, exceptions apply in cases where an employee is off work due to long term sickness and for those on maternity or parental leave. 

WHAT HAPPENS TO A WORKER'S HOLIDAY WHEN I LEAVE?

If your worker leaves your employment, any unused holiday should be included with their final pay.  If they have taken more holiday than they are entitled to then they do not have to pay back the excess unless they have agreed in writing to do so.  Many employers will include a clause in the contract of employment allowing them to deduct any sums in respect of excess holiday. 

HOW IS HOLIDAY PAY CALCULATED?

In 2014 two important cases were heard regarding the calculation of holiday pay.  The impact of these decisions is that holiday pay should reflect the workers 'normal pay'; meaning if a worker receives regular (but not ad-hoc) payments such as commission, a shift bonus and on-call payments these payments should be taken into account when calculating his or her holiday pay. This is done by working out the your average pay over the preceding 12 weeks.  One gloss on this is that this method of calculating holiday pay only applies to 4 weeks (20 days) holiday.  Therefore, any holiday entitlement over and above 20 days can be paid at the basic pay rate.

Further, and as a result about concerns about a rise in claims new legislation (in the Working Time Regulations) was  introduced by the Government to prevent a deluge of claims.  This provides that workers from 1 July 2015 can only claim up to two years back dated holiday pay.

If you would like more detailed information about holiday leave, Ashby Cohen can help you. We specialise in employment law matters, and our years of experience as employment lawyers make us especially qualified to assist you with any holiday leave issues you may have. Please contact us for an initial free telephone consultation.

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