As thousands of holidaymakers travel over the Easter period, we explore your entitlement to holiday (annual leave) from work. Please read on to find out more.
What Is Annual Leave?
Holiday entitlement, or commonly referred to as “annual leave”, is the number of paid days (or hours) that you are entitled to be away from work each leave year. Most people are entitled to this time off work, including employees, agency workers and workers on zero-hour contracts.
What Is A Leave Year?
Essentially, a leave year is the period of time from when your annual leave entitlement starts to when it ends. Your leave year may, for example, run from 1 January to 31 December each year. This information should be detailed in your contract of employment, or other relevant agreement or policy.
If your agreement is silent on the matter, the default position is as follows:
- If you started working for the organisation on or before 1 October 1998, the leave year starts (and ends) on 1 October each year; or
- If you started employment after 1 October 1998, the default position is that the leave year starts on your first day of employment and is then on each anniversary of this date.
How Much Holiday Should I Get Off Work?
Annual leave, or holiday entitlement, is split into two categories – your statutory entitlement (which is the minimum entitlement set through acts of parliament and regulations) and your contractual entitlement (which might be more than the minimum entitlement and is set out in your contract of employment if you have one).
Statutory (minimum) entitlement
Dealing firstly with your statutory entitlement to holidays, this is the minimum amount of paid holiday you are entitled to. You are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks of paid holiday per leave year.
How your entitlement works in practice, will depend on your working arrangements. For example:
- If you work five days per week, your statutory entitlement will equate to 28 days paid annual leave per leave year.
- If you work part-time, you will still be entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid holiday per leave year, but this will be calculated on a pro-rata basis. For example, if you work two days per week, you will be legally entitled to at least 11.2 days of paid holiday per leave year.
- If your hours of work vary week to week, you will still be entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid holiday per leave year. However, this will be calculated based on your average hours per week. Essentially, this is calculated from your average hours over the past 52 weeks. Or, if you have been employed for less than 52 weeks, the number of complete weeks you have been employed.
As above, your statutory entitlement is the minimum holiday you are entitled to. However, your contract of employment (or other relevant agreement) may “top up” your statutory entitlement and may have more generous provisions about holiday entitlement.
Importantly, your contract of employment (or other relevant agreement) should also detail how bank holidays are treated by your employer. Your employer may, or may not, include bank holidays in your entitlement.
Do I Get Annual Leave When I First Join My Employer?
If you join a company or organisation part-way through a leave year (please see above), then your annual leave entitlement for the remainder of that leave year will be calculated on a pro-rata (i.e., proportionate) basis. This means, when you join part-way through a leave year, you are unlikely to be entitled to take the full year’s entitlement to paid time off work.
Also, throughout your first year of employment, your annual leave entitlement will need to be accrued. Essentially, this means your entitlement to annual leave will need to “build up” as you work. Again, this means you will not automatically be entitled to take all of your annual leave when you first start working for your employer.
Therefore, you should always check your contract of employment (or other relevant agreement) to understand how and when you can take advantage of your holiday entitlement.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
Whilst we always hope the information on our website is helpful, we would always advise you to seek legal advice for further assistance. If you would like a free consultation with one of our team at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, please use the contact form, engage in a webchat, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on 01522 440512 and we will be happy to help.
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