Frequently asked questions – holidays

The holiday spirit has been in full swing in recent weeks and here at Lawspeed we have noticed an increase in enquiries about the subject. Therefore, we thought it would be useful to include some general points about holidays in this month’s AgencyZone:

How much is the holiday entitlement?

From April 2009, the rate increased to 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave per year (pro rata for part time workers). This equates to twenty-eight days per annum for a full time worker. 

Do bank holidays count towards holiday entitlement?

An employer or a recruiter can include bank holidays as part of the annual entitlement.  There are usually eight bank holidays a year, so this would allow a full time worker an additional twenty days holiday. 2011 and 2012 both have an additional bank holiday for the Royal wedding and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. However, where the worker works on a bank holiday, as the bank holiday has not counted as part of their holiday leave, another day of annual leave must be given so that the holiday entitlement is met.

Can I tell an employee when to take their holidays?

Yes. There are provisions within the Working Time Regulations 1998 whereby an employer can give an employee notice as to when they want them to take their annual leave. It can be advantageous to include certain provisions in your contract towards this end.

I have an employee who has said they are ill whilst on holiday leave and wish to take the time as sick leave and use their holiday at another time.  Should I allow this?

Yes. In light of a decision by the European Court of Justice, if an employee becomes ill during or just before a period of annual holiday, they can ask to convert the period of holiday concerned to sick leave and take the annual holiday at another time.

Does holiday accrue for employees on long-term sickness absence or are away on maternity or other family leave?

Employees on long-term sickness leave will accrue holiday whilst they are absent from work and if they are unable to take their annual holiday entitlement in the holiday year, they should be allowed to carry this over into the next holiday year. Employees on maternity leave or other types of family leave will also accrue holiday whilst they are away and must be allowed to take this holiday when they return.

If you have any queries about holiday entitlement, please contact either Theresa Mimnagh or Anna Rabone on 01273 236 236.

AWR final guidance published today
HR v FD – the AWR divide