Q&As on holidays

1.      How much holiday are employees entitled to?

Full time workers who work a five-day week are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ or 28 days’ paid holiday leave each year.

2.      What about part time workers?

The full-time rate of 28 days is reduced on a pro rata basis according to how many days worked each week.  The easiest way of making the calculation is to take the number of days worked each week and multiply by 5.6, so for a two-day week, the calculation is two days x 5.6 = 11.2 days’ leave each year.

The same does not apply to those working more than a five-day week, for those workers the statutory minimum holiday entitlement remains the same.

3.      Do I need to pay staff on bank holidays?

Bank holidays can be included in the 5.6 weeks’ statutory leave, and it often comes as a surprise that there is no statutory right to be paid for bank holidays.

This is subject to the wording of the employment contract.  Some contracts may say that the holiday allowance is in addition to public holidays and others that the allowance includes public holidays, either approach is fine as long as the employee receives at least 28 days holiday per annum.

4.      Do I need to pay employees for time spent attending doctors and dental appointments?

It depends.  There is no general right to be paid for time off for appointments, so if employees expect to be paid you can require them to take time off for appointments as holiday.

This is subject to whether your employment contract says something different.  Additionally, employers need to be consistent in the application of any rules, so if you usually allow employees paid time off to attend appointments there is a risk that to do otherwise would be inconsistent but there is no general right to be paid for these appointments.

5.      Can I shut the office for 2 weeks at Easter and ask employees to take this out of their holiday allowance?

Again, it depends on the employment contract, but the short answer generally is yes.  Your contract may well have a clause which allows you to enforce a period of holiday.  Otherwise, the Working Time Regulations do allow an employer to give notice ordering a worker to take statutory holiday on specified dates.  The notice period must be at least twice the length of the period of leave that the worker is being ordered to take.

Amanda Finn can be contacted at a.finn@gullands.com