Time to check holiday rules

PUBLISHED: 14:23 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:05 20 February 2013

With people making their holiday plans for 2008 now is a good time for employers and employees alike to check their work holiday entitlements.

With people making their holiday plans for 2008 now is a good time for employers and employees alike to check their work holiday entitlements

THE good news is that changes to the law which were implemented in 2007 mean that this year around six million workers in the UK could find themselves with more holiday days than ever before, says Kate Carroll, a partner at St Albans law firm Ottaways.

Whilst workers in the United States still get less paid annual leave than those in the Uk we lag behind many other European countries in the holiday stakes. In the UK, employees were legally entitled to four weeks paid annual leave each year. For full time employees - those working a five day week - this is equivalent to 20 days paid holiday a year.

In reality, most people already receive more paid annual leave than that, accounted for by the fact that many employers allow their employees to take the eight bank holidays each year in addition to these 20 holiday days. It may come as a surprise to some to learn though that the government estimates approximately six million workers have those eight days included in their entitlement of 20 reducing the current holiday entitlement of those people to just twelve.

Kate, whose firm provides legal advice to businesses and individuals, explains: "The government has amended the Working Time Regulations to increase the legal entitlement to paid holiday from four weeks to 4.8 weeks from 1st October 2007 (equivalent to 24 days for an employee working a five day week) and then to 5.6 weeks (equivalent to 28 days) from April 2009."

The additional eight days represent the bank holidays although the Regulations do not require that the leave is taken on those specific days. Employers are not allowed to make a payment in lieu of any of the current 20 days nor will this be possible for the additional entitlement.

Workers will be able to carry over some or all of the additional days to the following leave year (which cannot be done with the basic 20 days) but only if both the employer and employee agree.

Ottaways solicitors, based in St Albans, provides legal advice to individuals and businesses. For individuals its range of services includes residential property law, wills and tax planning, probate, matrimonial and family law, land development law, consumer issues and dispute resolution. Businesses can benefit from Ottaways' commercial property law, landlord & tenant, employment, planning, environmental and licensing law expertise.

Those requiring advice on employment issues can contact Kate on 01727 863131, by email
kate.carroll@ottaways.co.uk visiting the website www.ottaways.co.uk or writing to Ottaways Solicitors, The Mansion, 1 St Peter's Street, St Albans, AL1 3DJ.

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