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Are Your Employees Getting the Holiday They Are Entitled To?

According to a recent report by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) nearly two million employees in the UK are not getting the minimum paid holiday they are entitled to. The sectors in which employees seem to be most affected by this are education, retail and health and social care.

The report found that the most common reasons for employees missing out on holiday included:

  • Unrealistic workloads
  • Employers deliberately denying holiday requests and managing out employee’s leave
  • Employer’s failing to keep up to date with the law

It’s important for employers to check that they are giving their employee’s at least the legal minimum amount of paid holiday and that employees can take it.

As a statutory minimum, all employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks holiday a year (pro rata for employees who start employment part way through the holiday year). In terms of days, this equates to 28 days holiday for an employee who works five days a week. Employees who work fewer days will be entitled to a pro rata amount.

Advice

To help you ensure you keep on track when it comes to holidays here are Kingfisher’s* top tips:

  • Ask for help if you need it. Employers sometimes find it difficult to know how to go about calculating holiday or holiday pay, particularly when it comes to atypical workers, such as those employed on zero-hours contracts or part time employees. There can also be some situations which arise where employers are unsure what to do regarding holiday, for example if an employee is absent on long term sick leave or is going to be on maternity leave. If you are unsure how to calculate holiday entitlement or holiday pay in your organisation or you have a particular situation you need help with, please contact us for advice.
  • Have a clear holiday request procedure in place that works for your organisation. It’s important to make sure that it’s simple to use and that it accurately records in writing what holiday has been requested, whether this has been authorised or refused for a good reason, by whom and when and how much holiday an employee has left to take. It’s important to ensure you keep good written records in the event of a dispute about holiday or holiday pay arising. If you would like a holiday request form for use in your organisation, please contact us as we are happy to help.
  • Be pro-active, review where you are regarding holiday requests at appropriate intervals. This can help to avoid problems arising, such as a last minute rush by employees to fit their holiday in before the end of the holiday year. If you identify that an employee has an unusually large amount of holiday un-booked and a significant portion of the holiday year has already passed, it’s advisable to draw this to the employee’s attention and encourage them to make a holiday request.
  • Remember that taking holiday has a positive effect on employee wellbeing. Employees are more likely to perform better if they are well rested and have had some time away from work. With this in mind, create a positive culture around employee’s taking the paid holiday to which they are entitled. Monitoring workloads goes hand-in-hand with this, to avoid a situation where an employee feels that they are unable to take holiday due to unrealistic workloads.

If you have any employment law matters you would like assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact us as we are happy to help.

*Kingfisher refers to Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd