Employers puzzling over staff holiday pay entitlements following recent changes to employment law will welcome the publication of revised guidelines on holidays and holiday pay. Issued by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), these clarify the regulations in a useful question-and-answer format.
For example, do employees have the right to paid leave on public holidays?
The guidance defines what are public holidays and gives the following advice:
‘There is no statutory entitlement to paid leave for public holidays.
Any right to paid time off for such holidays depends on the terms of the worker’s contract. If the contract is silent, the right to paid leave may have built up through custom and practice.
Paid public holidays can be counted as part of the statutory four weeks’ holiday entitlement under the Working Time Regulations 1998.’
Furthermore, if you employ part-time workers who do not work on a Monday, can they claim the right to paid bank holidays, given that most of these fall on that day? The guidance states that they can only claim this right if ‘full-time workers at the same workplace are given paid leave for bank holidays in addition to the statutory leave entitlements under the Working Time Regulations.
The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 provide that part-time workers should not be treated less favourably than full-timers in regard to their contractual terms. As most bank and public holidays fall on a Monday, those staff who do not normally work that day could be disadvantaged. Best practice suggests that such workers should be given a pro-rata entitlement to days off in lieu according to the number of hours they work.’
The guidelines cover the entitlement of agency workers and casual workers to paid leave as well as explaining the accrual system, introduced in 2001, which employers can opt to use in the first year of employment for those who commenced work after 25 October 2001.
The guidelines are available on the ACAS website