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You Can Bank on it!

» Posted on: 15 June 2007
» Posted by: Oliver McCann
» Service area: Employment

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You can Bank on an increase in employees holiday entitlement taking place over the next 20 months. Presently under the Working Time Regulations 1998 workers are entitled to 20 days (4 weeks) paid annual leave a year. Since the regulations were first introduced it has always been permissible for Employers to include the 8 Public and Bank holidays within those 20 days and indeed many SME’s took advantage of this option in order to keep costs down and keep production going!

However the government has succumbed to pressure by employee pressure groups to increase that entitlement. A consultation on the issue took place earlier this year and the Government published its response to that consultation on the 12th June 2007 being the same day the Regulations were laid before Parliament.

There have been some changes since the last consultation. Previously it had been intended to increase the holidays in two stages, the first on 1st October 2007 to 4.8 weeks (24 days) and the second on 1st October 2008 to 5.6 weeks (28days). Now it is proposed to delay the second phase until April 2009

It will also now be permissible for Employers to make a payment in lieu of the first increase of 4 days until April 2009 as a temporary measure to help employers with the transitional arrangements. Payments in lieu after April 2009 will not be permitted.

Note that contrary to some reports in the National Press you do not have to give your staff the additional days off on the actual Bank or Public Holidays. The proposals are simply an increase in the annual entitlement meaning that you can still require your employees to work on a Bank or Public holiday but effectively they will be getting a day in lieu instead.

It will be permissible to include Bank Holidays within the increased entitlement. If you already give staff 20 days plus Bank and Public holidays you will already be compliant with the legislation.

Holidays will be calculated on a pro rata basis for part time workers (ie 4.8 or 5.6 times their usual working week) regardless of whether they usually work a Bank Holiday or not.

There will be a maximum statutory holiday entitlement at 28 days ,so if a worker works a 6 day week , 5.6 times this would have entitled him to 33.6 days, but the statutory cap will kick in to limit it to 28 days.

But don’t worry, it could be worse –Austria’s minimum holiday entitlement is 38 days!

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