Are you at risk of providing an unanticipated shortfall in employee entitlement?

Those employers who operate an annual leave year running from 1st April to 31st March, and use words such as ’20 day’s holiday plus bank holidays’ to specify employees’ annual leave, may be at risk of providing an unanticipated shortfall in their employees’ holiday entitlement.

The holiday rights issue arises due to the way the Easter break fell in 2016, meaning that the bank holidays were early on 25th and 28th March. However in 2015, the Easter break fell in early April, meaning that the holiday year running 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016 had two Easter breaks, and as such affected employees will have gained two additional bank holidays in the leave year.

However, Easter in 2017 is even later with Good Friday falling on 14th April and Easter Monday falling on 17th April. This means that for the holiday year running 1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017, employees appear to lose out because there is no Easter break during the whole of the annual leave year. This means that employees will be entitled to just 26 days’ leave under their contract.

Failure to honour a contractual clause providing for “20 days’ holiday plus bank holidays” would result in the employer being in breach of contract. Employers should not rely on statutory holiday rights entitlement balancing out over two annual leave years. Employers cannot negotiate out of the statutory 28 day minimum and so employers will need to top up their employee’s holiday entitlement for the annual leave year running 1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the holiday rights issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.