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