HR in the Hotseat: Five Practical Holiday Matters

If the thought of dealing with employee holiday rights has you yearning for a different kind of escape then this Legal Update is for you. Dealing with holidays in the workplace can be anything but relaxing at times, so we take a look at five practical holiday questions  managers may find themselves facing.

1. Employee: I’d rather save this year’s holiday entitlement until next year when I’m more confident going abroad, can I carry it over?

Answer: Maybe some of it… (if I’m feeling nice!)

Employees are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks holiday in each leave year, this is made up of 4 weeks basic holiday and 1.6 weeks additional holiday. The Working Time Regulations require that employees must usually take 4 weeks holiday in the holiday year. When it comes to the additional 1.6 weeks holiday some or all of it can be carried over if the employee’s contract of employment entitles them to do so or if you agree to it. Likewise, for any extra days holiday employees are given as an additional contractual benefit

When it comes to holiday carry-over generally, its important to act fairly and consistently and to be aware that there can be some exceptions where employees have greater rights to carry-over holiday, such as where a woman has been on maternity leave or it is not reasonably practicable for an employee to take some or all of their entitlement in the holiday year as a result of the effects of coronavirus.

2. Employee: I don’t want to take all my holiday this year, can I just be paid for it instead?

Answer: Employees can’t be paid in lieu of their statutory minimum holiday entitlement during their employment as this will be a breach of the Working Time Regulations.

If an employee wants to be paid for holiday days, they must take the day off as holiday.

Once the employee ceases to be employed for any reason, you are at that point required to pay them in lieu of any holiday they have accrued but not taken.

If an employee is entitled to more holiday than the statutory minimum as a contractual benefit, the employee could be paid in lieu for these additional days during employment if the contract provides for this or you agree to it.

3. Manager: For good business reasons I need my employees to take some of their holiday at a particular time this year, can I require them to do so?

Answer: Yes usually, but you need to make sure you give the right amount of notice.

Double the length of notice needs to be given to the employee compared to the time off they are going to be required to take e.g if an employee is required to take one weeks holiday they must be given at least two weeks’ notice of this.

If you wish to require employees to take holiday at a particular time you should contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd to discuss your situation before taking action.           

4. Manager: Will employees get an extra days holiday in 2022 to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee?       

Answer:  Not necessarily!

There is no statutory right for employees to have the extra bank holiday as a days holiday, it will depend on their contract of employment. Where there is no contractual right (or custom and practice), it will be for the organisation to decide what approach to take.

Whilst the additional bank holiday is a way off yet as it isn’t until 3rd June 2022 it’s important to keep it on your radar so you ascertain the situation in your organisation and where necessary, communicate with employees in good time.

If you would like to discuss the situation in your organisation, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.

5. Manager: A lot of employees haven’t requested any holiday this year and I’m concerned it will be difficult to fit it all in if they leave it all to late in the year what can I do now?

Answer: Give them a nudge (metaphorically speaking!)

Chances are at least a few of them will have been waiting to see which countries are on the government’s green list for foreign travel before thinking about holiday plans so you may find you start to get some requests coming through soon (spoiler alert – we will be looking at issues around employees taking foreign holidays in our next holiday instalment!). Even so, as a first step it’s a good idea to give employees a gentle reminder to think about making holiday requests and if you require them to have a certain proportion of their holiday booked by a particular stage in the year to re-iterate that too.

The next instalment in our holiday series will be available soon, in the meantime if you have an employment law matter you would like assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd for advice on the facts of your case.