Monday, 5 January 2015

New Annual Leave Year - Quick Recap on Annual Leave Entitlements

It may surprise you to know that if you have not set out an agreed date for your annual leave year, legally the leave year begins on 1 October for workers who started employment before 1 October 1998 and for new workers, the year begins on the anniversary of the start of their employment.  As this naturally results in multiple 'year ends' in practice most employers specify an annual leave year.

It isn't of course the same for every business, but many companies run their annual leave calendar in line with the calendar year.  The leave year may begin on any date you specify in your  contract of employment.  Most organisations have a standard year for every member of staff over which you can take your entitlement.
Activ Absence is a cloud based, easy to use solution for managing staff annual leave and sickness.   As well as being a superb tool for calculating and managing annual leave, its powerful reporting tools allow your business to quickly plan, monitor, analyse and manage the causes, effects and most importantly the cost and productivity implications of planned and unplanned absence.  Companies using Activ Absence have reported on average a 75% reduction in administration time and an average reduction in sickness of between 20 and 30%.
Managing annual leave is as you would expect an absolute breeze with Activ Absence, which is why more and more organisations such as British Airways Holidays, Hasbro UK and the NSPCC are choosing 'the absence people' as their software partner of choice in tackling holiday and sickness administration.  It is however worth revisiting exactly what the UK legal position is on annual leave for those businesses who haven't yet discovered the benefits of  Activ Absence

How much time off are my staff entitled to?

Since April 2009 all UK staff have the right to 5.6 weeks' paid holiday per year. This does however INCLUDE any time off for public holidays, so in practice in a 9-5 job, the legal minimum equates to 4 weeks holiday plus the 8 bank holiday days.
Leave can only be taken in the leave year in which it is due, unless sickness absence (or perhaps maternity leave) prevents this. Leave may not normally be replaced by a payment in lieu — except on termination of employment.   Annual leave is also continued to be accrued if an employee is off sick.

How do I calculate time off for a part time employee?

Part-time employees are one potential area for confusion.  For example, if a part time employee normally works a Monday, how does this work in relation to bank holidays?
Calculating how much time each part time worker is entitled to is actually quite straightforward, simply multiply the number of days they work each week by 5.6.  Part-time workers' annual leave entitlement is proportionate to the time they normally work, e.g. a worker who normally works three days per week is entitled to 16.8 days' annual leave, and so on  (paid holiday hours will be those normally worked, i.e. if they normally work 3 hours on those days then their paid time off would be 3 hours).    
Unless otherwise specified in your Contract of Employment, bank holidays will be included as part of your annual leave entitlement and therefore the employee would not be automatically entitled to their normal annual leave PLUS paid bank holidays, however it is worth making sure that this is made clear to both parties.
As you would expect,  Activ Absence makes it very easy for you to calculate and manage part-time employee allowances.

So do I have to give my employees Bank Holidays off?

There is NO automatic entitlement to take bank holidays off work. Many contracts of employment do give a right to take bank holidays off but this is not required by law.  Some jobs will always require the worker to work bank holidays and this will vary from workplace to workplace.  In these jobs, the worker will however be entitled to time off in lieu.  
Despite the popular beliefs about 'double and triple time', those workers who work a bank holiday are not legally entitled to be paid any more than on any other shift unless agreed in the contract of employment - but they are entitled to take the time off as normal annual leave.

Do my staff have to give me reasonable notice of time off?

An employer may require a worker to give notice of intention to take annual leave and the dates proposed. The employer may require this notice to be given at least twice as many days in advance of the start of leave as the number of days to which the notice relates. If giving due notice, the employer may also require the worker:
  • to take leave to which the worker is entitled on particular days, or
  • not to take such leave on particular days.
Employees should therefore be aware that leave requests can be rejected or accepted according to business needs. Activ Absence is particularly strong in managing leave requests, and has the flexibility of allowing a line manager to approve or reject requests instantly, even via a mobile phone if required.
The employer's notice that a leave request has been rejected must be given at least as many days in advance of the leave start date as the number of days of the proposed leave. All the provisions with regard to the provision of notices can be varied by a trade union agreement. 
Lisa Baker LLB, Activ AbsenceJanuary 2015
ABOUT THE AUTHOR    Activ Absence   'the Absence People' provide a cloud based easy to use solution for managing staff annual leave and sickness.   It allows your business to quickly plan, monitor, analyse and manage the causes, effects and most importantly the cost and productivity implications of planned and unplanned absence and reportedly saves 75% of admin time when compared to spreadsheets and manual systems.  It is the market leader in absence management.

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