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Increased holiday entitlement - Notes for employers

With effect from 1st October 2007 your employees have been entitled to more annual paid leave. That’s the date when rules on the minimum legal holiday entitlement changed. The changes are all part of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that paid bank and public holidays are given in addition to the current minimum four week holiday entitlement.

What has changed - and when?

The changes took place in two stages, as follows:

From 1st October 2007 the legal minimum holiday entitlement for UK workers above school leaving age increased from 4 weeks to 4.8 weeks – equivalent to 24 days’ holiday instead of the previous 20 days (inclusive of bank and public holidays), for someone working a 5-day week.

From 1st April 2009 the basic legal entitlement for all workers increased to 5.6 weeks. The legal minimum entitlement was further increased to 28 days – though an employer may choose to give more.
Part-time workers must now receive annual holidays equal to 5.6 times their usual working week, regardless of which days of the week they usually work. Bank and public holidays are included in this entitlement. 

Other things you need to know about the changes

Following the changes employees no longer have to work for a qualifying period. They benefit from the full holiday entitlement as soon as they start work. However you can restrict the rate at which leave is taken during their first year of employment (so for example, an employee could not take all their holiday in the first few weeks).
If you already pay all your full-time and part-time employees for at least 5.6 weeks’ holiday – including bank and public holidays – this change does not affect you.
It may be possible, for one year only, to carry the additional holiday entitlement through to the following holiday year, but the additional days would have to be taken during that year.

From 1st April 2009, payment in lieu may not be made in lieu of any part of the basic legal entitlement.

This change does not make it necessary for employers to issue employees with new contracts of employment, but employees must be informed in writing of their new entitlement. Holiday calculations may result in an entitlement to part days of holiday. This entitlement may not be rounded down to the nearest full day, but apart from this stipulation, the employer may decide how best to handle part days.These changes relate to England, Wales and Scotland. The Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland is bringing forward proposals for Northern Ireland.

Obviously, providing additional paid holidays for your staff increases your costs. As these changes affect workers too, all employment agencies supplying agency workers to customers are faced with the same cost increases. You may find that any such suppliers to your organisation have increased their prices accordingly.

Need further assistance?

If you have any queries relating to this issue, please do not hesitate to contact your local Driver Hire office.  As you would expect, we have been consulting closely with the relevant authorities over this change and we will be happy to help.

Excellent information and guidance is also available on two Government websites:
For Employers: 
The Department for Business, Employment and Regulatory Reform

For Employees:    – the Government’s Public Services website                                                   
Your local Business Link will also be able to offer you further help and guidance.

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