6th Apr 2015

Employer’s guide to holiday & sickness absence

With school holidays just around the corner, here’s a reminder to employers of what holiday entitlement your staff are entitled to receive under the current legislation, and what to do if sickness strikes and interrupts their holiday plans:-

  • 1.All workers have a right to a minimum of 5.6 week’s paid holiday each year

This is the equivalent to 28 days for a full time (five days a week) worker, and pro-rated for part-timers.Remember your contracts of employment can provide for more holiday entitlement than this each year, but 5.6 weeks is the minimum entitlement.This minimum includes bank holidays, so a full time worker is not entitled to 28 days plus another eight days’ bank holiday. However, make sure it’s clearly stated in the contract, whether bank holidays are included, or not as part of the worker’s holiday entitlement.

  • 2.You choose the holiday dates, not the worker

Of course, workers are generally allowed to request holiday on specific dates.However, ultimately the decision is yours.You can refuse a request and allocate different holiday dates instead, as long as you ensure the worker can take their full 5.6 weeks’ entitlement each year.

You can also specify in the contract dates when a worker has to take their holiday, for example, when the work place shuts down, or office is closed at particular times of the year.

  • 3.If a worker falls sick, either before starting or while on holiday, it does not count as holiday leave

If a worker is unable to go away on holiday because sickness strikes, or they become ill while on holiday, that time counts as sickness absence and not holiday absence.Therefore, the time they were sick does not count as part of their holiday leave entitlement.

  • 4.Holiday entitlement does not carry over to the next holiday year

If a worker does not take their holiday entitlement during the holiday year, there is no right to carry it over into the next year, often referred to as “use it or lose it” rule.However, there a couple of exceptions to this rule.For example, the contract may provide for a worker’s holiday to be carried over into a subsequent holiday year, and usually with the employer’s agreement.

Also, if a worker has been unable to take their holiday because they have been unwell (usually where there has been long term sickness absence), then the right to holiday will carry over.

For advice on how these issues may impact on your business, and to ensure your procedures are up to date, contact Mike Patterson of Berwins’ Employment Team.

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