Annual Leave & Bank Holidays
The law changed in respect of annual leave & bank holidays in April 2009. From 1st April 2009, full-time staff were entitled to 28 days annual leave a year, with an equal pro-rata for part-time staff.
A significant number of employers seem to have struggled with the new legislation, many assisted by Employment Law Clinic. This article opens that advice to all small business owners that may not understand the current position, as well as looking at best practice to help ease the burden for business.
There was no change to the law in respect of bank holidays when the annual leave entitlement was extended to 28 days: bank holidays do not have to be treated as anything special for employees, and businesses may continue to operate as normal on these days, with no requirement to pay staff any extra rates for the day.
What did change with the Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2007‘, was the amount of time-off workers are entitled to. This was to reflect the bank holidays on top of the 20 days holidays provided by the Working Time Regulations 1998. In practice, many employers now provide for “20 days holidays plus bank holidays”. While not a lot of extra time off, in 2012 employees will likely benefit from clauses of this nature, as there will be an extra bank holiday to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
For hard-pressed small businesses, this is a good reason for them simply to provide employees with 28 days leave per annum, and where the business closes for bank holidays, require that holidays are taken on these days. If the business then wanted to motivate, encourage, and reward its staff, it could provide this extra day off without the need for leave – the holiday would then be recognised as more of a generosity from the employer, not the government.
Calculating Annual Leave
For full-time staff that work fixed daily hours, calculating annual leave should be easy: 28 days is the legal allowance, and this should be available to all staff.
For other staff – whether they work part-time, the working patterns aren’t fixed, or the working days vary in length – using ‘days’ in the calculations can become more of a problem: on some days, more than a full-day will be necessary, while in others, less than this will be required. This can lead to disadvantages, both with staff manipulating this to get the maximum time-off and with employees feeling rightly aggrieved when they need to use a full-day’s leave for what would be less than a full working day.
The answer to these scenarios lies in calculating annual leave on an hourly basis: for the longer working days, employees would use up more of their allowance, while on the shorter shifts, they would have time left over. This approach will also ensure that employees are permitted their full leave allowance, helping to protect businesses from claims to employment tribunals.
For all cases, there are some simple solutions: there’s a calculator available on the Business Link website which will provide the figures employers need for their contracts of employment. Or for employers needing more assistance, contact Employment Law Clinic: