Do you know how many holidays you have coming up?

We all deserve a break from our hard work now and again. Luckily, under The Working Time Regulations (2004), employees and workers are entitled to a minimum number of paid holidays per year. In England and Wales, this is set as 5.6 weeks per year and includes Bank/Public Holidays. This means that anyone working five days per week must receive 20 days of paid leave, plus the eight Bank/Public Holidays observed each calendar year. Part-time employees and workers receive a pro-rata allowance based on how many days they work per week.

But… wait… do we have a problem on the horizon?

Employers set the dates of the holiday year. For most this is 1st January to 31st December (although it’s up to you, as the employer).

However, if you decide to run your holiday year over more than one calendar year, the number of Bank/Public holidays might be higher or lower than eight and that can cause problems. Let’s look at an example.

  • Imagine an employer, which allows only the statutory minimum holiday allowance of 5.6 weeks, runs their holiday year between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019.
  • In that period, there will only be seven Bank/Public Holidays instead of eight, because Good Friday falls on 30th March.
  • In effect, there will be nine Bank/Public Holidays in the 2017/18 year, rather than eight.
  • This means that the employer might have to grant an additional day’s holiday during the 2018/19 year, so that they do not fall below the statutory minimum.
  • If the employer’s contract states the specific number of Bank/Public holidays that the employee is entitled to, e.g. ‘20 days holiday plus eight Bank/Public Holidays,’ then the employer might be able to deduct the additional 2017/18 one and add the 2018/19 one.
  • However, if the contract simply states ‘20 days holiday plus Bank/Public Holidays,’ as most do, the employer will have to add the 2018/19 one but won’t be able to deduct the 2017/18 one.
  • If the contract states 5.6 week including Bank/Public Holidays, then the employee would take eight Bank/Public Holidays plus 19 days paid holiday, meaning the employer would not fall below the statutory minimum.

Phew. That’s a lot of Bank/Public Holidays to keep track of!

So, what do you need to do?

You might not have realised the potential discrepancies caused by Bank/Public holidays.

  1. Check the exact wording of any contracts.
  2. Make any necessary plans concerning annual leave, now.
  3. It is up to you, as the employer, to ensure you are fulfilling your duties and to manage this through your holiday booking system.

For plain-English, expert advice on the matter, you can contact Alison here.

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