It’s a peculiar fact of the working life that one of the most sought-after aspects of an employment contract is a greater number of days spent elsewhere. Like weekends they are a vital part of maintaining a good work/life balance and go a long way to maintaining employees’ physical and mental wellbeing. In fact, holidays are good news for the forward-thinking business; a healthy and happy workforce is a productive workforce.

Employers often get tripped up by the provision of holidays. Some are unaware that staff have minimum entitlements or that public holidays can form part of this leave. On the other side, they can be led to believe that staff have the right to take their holiday entitlement whenever they choose, although companies can in fact impose conditions on the amount of notice given and can seek to limit the number of consecutive days an employee can take off.

The facts are relatively simple: the standard paid holiday entitlement is 5.6 working weeks per year. That amounts to 28 days’ paid leave for a five-day-a-week worker, but in the UK there are usually 8 (England and Wales), 9 (Scotland) or 10 (Northern Ireland) bank holidays per year, and these can count towards the total number of days off. (One-off national holidays are sometimes added, for example for state funerals or major royal events.)

Holiday entitlement for a part-time worker is pro-rated to reflect 5.6 of their working weeks. For example, someone who works two days per week is entitled to 11.2 days paid holiday (5.6 × 2). Entitlement can be calculated in terms of ‘hours’ and ‘shifts’ rather than days for atypical workers.

Although this is the minimum entitlement, employers may choose to offer more days off to employees, and this can be a significant incentive to secure staff, along with other incentives such as company cars or bonuses.

Let Peninsula Guide you Through Holiday Issues

Holiday entitlements and conditions can start to get quite complicated for companies, especially when different packages are offered to different employees. It’s important that when offering holiday packages to employees, you remain on the right side of the law whilst ensuring everyone gets paid the right amount.

Things get tricky when employees leave your employment before they have used up all their entitlement or if they carry over leave from previous years. Also, employees can sometimes claim holidays back if they are sick when they would have been having a holiday.

Employers also have the right to impose reasonable restrictions on when employees can take their annual leave. For example they can ensure that a minimum number of staff members are working in a department at a certain time, or they can force staff to have certain weeks off, for example if a factory has an annual shut-down for maintenance.

Peninsula can make sure that your contracts and policies are up to date and applicable to the type of work being done, and can give you peace of mind that your holiday entitlement policies are legal – or advise you on how to get them on the right side of the law. Contact us online or call 0800 328 9348 and we’ll be pleased to discuss your requirements.

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