April 3, 2019
On 12 March 2019, the Government launched its holiday pay campaign “It comes with the job” to raise awareness among workers of their rights and to help employers understand their legal obligations in the workplace. The campaign will aim to reach workers and employers through digital and social media advertising, video on-demand, and advertisements in train stations and other locations.
The campaign was created in response to the growing confusion (arising out of a number of changes to the law over the last few years) surrounding holiday pay, which is resulting in shift workers, zero-hour contract workers and agency workers missing out on the holiday pay to which they are entitled.
A Government survey of over 2,000 workers indicated that in the UK nearly 1.8 million people are not receiving their correct holiday pay and overall they are missing out on approximately £1.8 billion in holiday pay each year.
Under UK law, every hour worked by a worker or employee accrues an entitlement to paid time off, and nearly all workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday each year (calculated pro rata for those who work part time). Calculating both holiday entitlement and pay can be more difficult in the case of workers who work irregular hours or receive varying pay each week or month. As a result, casual workers are at a higher risk of not receiving their full holiday entitlement or pay.
It is likely that as a result of the Government’s awareness campaign, workers will become more likely to challenge their employers on this issue. Employers may therefore wish to review their holiday policies and calculations to ensure they are acting in compliance with the law.
When it comes to holiday entitlement and pay, the best practice for employers would be to:
Make it clear to your staff that they have the right to paid annual leave and encourage them to take their holiday entitlement.
Ensure that your staff understand when they will lose this entitlement (i.e. at the end of your holiday year) and that there is generally no right to pay in lieu of untaken holiday. Keep a written record of any such communications to them.
Have a written policy in place which clearly sets out the rules in relation to holiday entitlement and accrual.
Review your policies and staff contracts regularly to ensure they comply with any changes in UK employment law.
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