It’s the summer holidays! Most of us enjoy a break or time away from work at this time of year. But do you know what your holiday entitlement is and what your rights are to request and take leave? Read on for more information.
What is your holiday entitlement?
Most workers have a right to a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday each year. This equates to 28 days for a full-time employee, including bank holidays. However your contract of employment may give you additional holiday.
If you are a part-time worker you are entitled to 28 days’ holiday reduced pro rata, according to the number of days you work each week. Again, your contract may provide you with additional holiday.
If you have started a job part way through the leave year, you have a pro rata statutory holiday entitlement for that year.
When is my leave year?
This will usually be set out in your contract of employment or in another document such as your offer letter or an employee handbook. If it isn’t, then the default position is as follows:
• For workers who were already employed on 1 October 1998, the leave year begins on 1 October each year;
• For workers who started after 1 October 1998, the leave year begins on the date their employment commenced and each anniversary of that date.
As stated above, if you start work part-way through the leave year, your leave entitlement for the remainder of the leave year will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.
After the first year of employment, the whole annual entitlement becomes available at the start of each leave year, although your employer may limit the amount of holiday that can be taken at once.
How much notice must I give my employer before I can take holiday?
This may be set out in your contract of employment or you may have an informal arrangement with your employer for requesting leave. Otherwise, the general position is that you must give notice which is at least twice the period of leave you are requesting. For example, if you wanted to take five days’ leave, you must give at least ten calendar days’ notice.
Can my employer refuse my request for holiday?
Yes. If your employer does refuse your holiday request they must give you at least as many calendar days’ notice before the date on which your holiday was due to start, as the number days your employer is refusing. For example, if you requested 1 weeks’ holiday, your employer must give you at least 1 weeks’ notice to refuse your holiday.
Can my employer order me to take holiday at specific times?
Yes. For example you might be ordered to take holiday during your notice period or Christmas. Your employer should give you notice which is at least twice the length of the period of leave that you are being ordered to take.
It’s also possible for your employer to retract a notice already give which ordered you to take holiday at a particular time. Most employers are unlikely to do this though. As well as being very unpopular and potentially damaging employee relations, the employer might face claims for compensation from employees who incur cancellation charges or other expenses as a result of having pre-booked holiday travel or accommodation.
Am I automatically entitled to take off bank holidays or to be paid for them?
No. It depends what it says in your contract of employment. Many employers count bank and public holidays as part of your 28 day statutory entitlement, but there is no statutory right to be paid bank holidays on top of your 28 day entitlement.
Can I carry over unused holiday to the next leave year?
Under the Working Time Regulations, 20 days out of your 28 day entitlement should be taken in the leave year in which it is due. In other words, it must be taken in the leave year to which it relates or else it is lost. The remaining 8 days may be carried forward with the agreement of your employer. If you receive more than 28 days’ leave you may be allowed to carry that forward too.
However there is nothing to prevent your employer from allowing you to carry forward unused holiday, whether accrued under the Working Time Regulations or under your contract if you genuinely do not wish to take it in the relevant leave year, but your employer cannot compel you to carry over statutory holiday.
There are however, circumstances in which case law has established that employees should be allowed to carry over unused statutory holiday to the next year and sometimes beyond, for example if the employee has been unable to take their holiday because of taking sick leave. I shall explore these circumstances in more detail in a later blog.
Am I allowed to be paid for holiday that I have not taken?
You are only entitled to be paid in lieu of unused holiday on termination of your employment. Otherwise there is no right to be paid for holiday that you have not taken during the leave year.
What happens if I have taken more than my holiday entitlement during the year in which my employment ends?
Your employer has the right to recover payment from you (usually taken from your final salary payment) if you have taken more holiday than has accrued up to the date your employment terminates, provided this is expressly set out in your contract or other relevant agreement.
How can LincsLaw help?
For more information on holiday rights please contact us on 01522 440512 or 01522 440515 (direct dial) or visit our website at www.lincslaw.co.uk.
Specialist Employment Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors