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Holiday entitlement

The weather has been glorious and we have all been eager to escape our desks and enjoy a holiday in the summer sun.

As holiday season approaches and employees begin to dream of beaches and sunhats, we begin to see an increase in enquiries relating to holiday entitlements and pay. Some employees may look at booking last minute leave to make the most of the warm spell while it lasts. There have been plenty of recent cases regarding holiday pay that have resulted in employers backdating wages.

holidayWorking time

The UK’s Working Time Regulations 1998 detail the minimum conditions relating to weekly working time, rest entitlements and annual leave in the UK.  In terms of the Regulations, ‘working time’ means:

  • Any period during which your worker works at your disposal and carries out their activities or duties;
  • Any period during which your worker is receiving ‘relevant training’;
  • Any additional period which is to be treated as working time under a relevant agreement.

It’s important to determine what constitutes as working time for your employees. This may affect how annual leave entitlement is calculated. Recent case law has changed the rules on this in relation to overtime, travel time and holiday pay.

Employers need to have an appropriate system in place that details how many hours have been worked by their employees. If not they may have difficulty when it comes to calculating annual leave and holiday pay, ruining any potential summer fun.

The UK’s Working Time Regulations enables workers to have 5.6 weeks annual leave or 28 days a year on a pro rata basis. This includes agency workers and nearly all employees, including those on zero hours contracts, who work irregular hours.  Employers can choose whether to include bank holidays as part of the statutory leave. Of course, can offer more than the statutory minimum.

Workers Holiday Rights

Remember workers have the right to:

  • get paid for leave;
  • build up (‘accrue’) holiday entitlement during maternity, paternity and adoption leave;
  • build up holiday entitlement while off work sick;
  • request holiday at the same time as sick leave.

At this time of year it can be difficult for employers to balance the needs of the business and also the needs of employees. Some employees may be trying to balance work and childcare over the school holidays.  Offering flexibility can help employees but may lead to difficulties in terms of how they should be paid. Similarly, miscalculating overtime or commission payments can lead to costly Employment Tribunals.


Ensure that holiday policies are updated on a regular basis to minimise risks to your business. If you would like support with understanding the Working Time Regulations, Holiday Pay or updating policies then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Next week we are looking at why it is important to take annual leave and how a business can plan for holiday periods.


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