All staff, whether workers or employees, are entitled to a minimum amount of paid holiday per year under the Working Time Regulations. This is 28 days inclusive of bank and public holidays.

The right to paid holiday accrues from the date of employment at the rate of one twelfth of the annual holiday entitlement for each month worked, rounded to the nearest half day. Thus a full time employee who has worked for example 3 months will be entitled to 7 days’ leave (3 twelfths x 28 days = 2.3 days x 3 months = 6.9, rounded up to 7 days). Part-time workers are entitled to annual leave on a pro-rata basis. The statutory entitlement is inclusive of bank holidays but many employers provide that these are additional to the contractual entitlement.

In order to assist employers with the somewhat complicated calculation of holiday entitlements with the changes in law, BIS (formerly the DTI and then BERR) has produced a ready reckonerhere.

Most applicants for a new job advise the employer of holiday plans which they have already made to ensure that the employer will honour them. If this does not happen, under the WTR, it is still possible for the employer not to agree to requests for time off and to insist that proper notice be supplied. Proper notice will either be the term in the employment contract or, under the WTR, an employee must give the employer notice twice as many days before the first day of leave as the number of days or part days he or she plans to take. The notice must specify which dates are to be taken as leave and if only part of a day is to be taken, its duration. The employer may then issue the employee with a notice refusing permission to take that leave. The length of this notice must be equivalent to the number of days (or part days) being refused. An employer can also issue an employee with notice to take all or any of his/her leave on particular dates provided the notice is twice as long as the number of days or part days to which the notice relates.

It would therefore be perfectly proper to insist that an employee gives written notice before taking leave and if inconvenient, for the employer to serve a counter notice requiring them not to take leave on the days specified. In practice, most employers do try and accommodate the holiday wishes of employees but whether such good industrial relations practice would extend to brand new employees would have to depend upon the circumstances.

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