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Holiday Entitlement for 2016/2017 – Are you aware?

01 Sep 2015

Could your business be at risk of a breach of contract claim? Yes, if your holiday year runs from the 1st of April until the 31st of March and your employment contracts state that employees are entitled to 20 days’ holiday plus bank holidays, you very well could be. Why? It is all due to the shift in Easter holidays in 2016 and 2017

This year we enjoyed our Easter bank holidays on the 3rd and 6th of April bringing them within the 2015/2016 holiday year. In 2016, Easter will be earlier than usual – it will fall on the 25th and 28th of March (also within the 2015/2016 holiday year) giving employees ten bank holidays rather than eight. However in 2017, as Easter will be on the 14th and the 17th of April 2017, there will be no Easter break in the holiday entitlement year 1st of April 2016 and the 31st of March 2017. As a result, employees will lose two bank holidays which may mean employers will not satisfy the 28 days a year minimum entitlement.

The Working Time Regulations state that employees who work 5 days a week are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ annual leave (28 days each year). This can include or exclude bank holidays which usually equate to eight days per year.

So what can you do to get around this shift in bank holidays? It is important that you do not impose changes unilaterally as this may give rise to actionable claims by your employees.

You could decide to allow employees the extra 2 days holiday by paying them as normal but allowing the two extra days holiday. This may increase employee motivation and engagement in the long run but could run the risk of setting a precedent. Alternatively, you could consult with employees and agree an amendment to their holiday for the two holiday years.  

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