Managing the Christmas and New Year holidays

With holiday season almost upon us Laura Chalkley, Employment Advisory Service Manager at NPA business partner Ellis Whittam, answers some of your legal questions about employees’ holiday entitlements

How much annual leave are parttime employees entitled to?
Those working part-time are entitled to the same amount of holiday as fulltime employees, but their entitlement is calculated on a pro rata basis. Full-time employees have the right to 5.6 weeks (28 days) of paid annual leave per year. If an employee works three days a week in the pharmacy, they will be entitled to 16.8 days of annual paid leave. Parttime leave is calculated by multiplying the number of days worked per week by 5.6.

Do I have to pay my employees for bank holidays?
Employees do not have a legal right to be paid for public holidays. Generally bank holidays are counted as part of the statutory 5.6 weeks.

Can I pay an employee in lieu of holidays?
No. The only exception is upon termination of the employment relationship, where any accrued but untaken leave must be paid.

Are employees on long term sick leave and maternity entitled to annual leave?
Statutory holiday entitlement is still accrued while an employee is off work sick or on maternity leave.

Can employees carry over untaken annual leave?
Employees must take at least four weeks of leave per year. If an employee receives 28 days’ leave, they will be able to carry over up to a maximum of eight days. If the employee’s annual leave entitlement exceeds 28 days, you may allow the employee to carry over any extra leave depending on the terms in the employment contract or company handbook. If an employee has been unable to take annual leave because they are on leave for a different reason, for example sick, maternity or parental leave, they can carry over some of their unused leave to the next year. An employer must allow the employee to carry over up to 20 days if they were sick and could not take leave.

What if all my employees want to take time off at Christmas time?
There are a number of ways you can approach this to ensure that there is at least a minimum level of service at the pharmacy during the festive period. You could grant leave on the basis of ‘first come, first served’ or consider allowing people to choose between time off at Christmas or New Year. Alternatively, if an employee does not get the time off they requested at Christmas time, they could be given priority when they are booking their summer holiday.

Contact the NPA Employment Law Advisory Service Team on 0330 123 0558 or employmentadvice@npa.co.uk.

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