How well do you know your employees’ holiday entitlement?

Bank holiday season has arrived and with the summer holiday season almost upon us, now is the period when staff will be taking time off and submitting their annual leave requests. Holiday entitlement can leave many employers scratching their heads as they get to grips with who is due what. Here, we get clear on those common holiday queries that cause business owners some confusion.

employees' holiday entitlement

Annual leave entitlement

One of the most common questions we get asked at Consult HR is how to calculate employees’ holiday entitlement as this causes employers lots of confusion.

Full-time workers are allowed 5.6 weeks (28 days) holidays a year. This is the statutory minimum entitlement and therefore legal requirement, which employers must offer as a minimum (employers can give their employees more holidays than this if they wish).

For part-time staff, holiday entitlement is calculated on a pro-rata basis based on the hours and days they work. Working out exactly how many days this is can be a little tricky.

The employee’s annual leave entitlement should be included in their employment contract which should be issued to them within two months of their start date. To manually work out how many days off a part-time employee is entitled to, multiply the number of days they work each week by 5.6. So, if someone works 3 days a week, their leave entitlement would be 16.8 days off a year (3 days x 5.6). Thankfully, this handy calculator takes the hassle out of it for you.

employees' holiday entitlement

Bank holiday allowance

When it comes to bank holiday entitlement, there are 5 key things to always remember:

  1. Whether or not employees receive bank holiday entitlement is down to the employer. Employees do not have a statutory right to take off work on bank holidays and whether or not employees receive entitlement should be stated in their contract of employment.
  2. Bank holidays can form part of an employee’s total annual leave allowance. Employees can take all bank holidays as paid leave or employers can count bank holidays as additional holiday days. This is at the discretion of the employer, and again, should be included in the employee’s contract.
  3. Employees are not entitled to extra pay for working on a bank holiday, so if your business operates as normal on a bank holiday, employees are not entitled to any additional payments beyond their normal days pay, unless your policy states otherwise.
  4. When it comes to bank holiday entitlement, part-time staff are entitled a pro-rata entitlement according to the hours they work. Some employers think that the part time employee is only entitled to the bank holiday if they are scheduled to work on that day and that is incorrect.
  5. As per the terms of their contract, if it states that an employee is required to work on bank holidays, they cannot refuse to work.

employees' holiday entitlement

Can you refuse holiday requests? 

In summary, yes! It is a common misconception that employees can take annual leave whenever they want. Employers have control over staff’s annual leave as long as they ensure they have the opportunity to use their leave.

employees' holiday entitlement

Managing holidays around your business’ needs

Having a system in place for requesting annual leave is a good idea to enable you to manage staff holidays effectively. Julie Pollock from Consult HR has suggested some key points you should consider putting into your annual leave policy:
  • The process the staff member should follow when they want to request holidays, who they should make the request to, how they make the request and what notice you require
  • If you have closure days that the company close during the year, set these out in your policy
  • State times during the year when staff cannot request holidays, ie peak business periods
  • How you allocate holidays, ie first come, first served basis
  • If you restrict the number of people off on annual leave at any one time, specify this
  • Specify if there are certain times in the year when you want staff to request leave or maximum periods of time that staff can take off at any one time
  • State if staff are allowed to carry holidays over from one year to the next
  • State what happens if staff have overtaken on holidays at the time they leave their employment

If you need some help with a particular employee holiday issue, get in touch here today! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook here for the latest HR news and free advice, and leave your name & email address in the comments section below to sign up for our monthly newsletter.