Every few years, the Easter bank holidays cause massive Nationwide headaches for employers. All cause of one day. The crux of the problem is that every so often Easter dates fall on different dates meaning some employers will breach their contracts unless they provide staff with an extra day’s annual leave.
Currently, under working time rules, employees are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks annual leave inclusive of bank holidays. So for a typical staff member working five days a week, this works out as 28 days.
When an employee’s bank holiday entitlement is calculated for 2019, it would mean from 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019; employees will lose out because the Good Friday bank holiday will not fall within this timeframe. Resulting in the holiday entitlement totalling just 27 days leave.
The bank holidays in England and Wales from April 2018 to March 2019 are:
Monday 2nd April;
Monday 7th May;
Monday 28th May;
Monday 27th August;
Tuesday 25th December;
Wednesday 26th December; and
Tuesday 1st January.
Employers who operate an annual leave year that runs from 1st April to 31st March, and also those who set out their employees paid annual leave entitlement using wording along the lines of ’20 days’ holiday plus bank holidays’. The wording in employee contracts could mean that there is an unexpected shortfall in their holiday entitlement, due to the variations in Easter dates.
In short, if you do not honour 28 days holiday, you are in breach of contract, and the consequences are costlier than simply reviewing your processes before this becomes a problem.
The 28-days annual leave entitlement is a statutory minimum and employers cannot negotiate out of it. However, one option could be agreeing to allow your employees to take forward up to eight days’ holiday into the following leave year should that be a satisfactory compromise.
Now is an excellent time to review outdated contracts, especially those with contract clauses that state that employees are entitled to 28 days’ annual leave inclusive of bank holidays. Making the necessary changes will save going through the same hassle in a few years time when this issue will arise again.
If you need advice or guidance on topping up your employee’s annual leave entitlement, or if you are looking for help reviewing your companies documentation, please contact a member of the HPC team:
T: 0844 800 5932