Holiday time: a guide to managing staff leave

Summer holiday banner for holiday entitlement

Summer is officially here and holiday requests are back with a bang after two summers of lockdowns and travel restrictions.

Whether your employees have a holiday booked in the sunshine, or a rainy staycation to look forward to, there’s no doubt that the summer months are peak holiday request time.

It can be a lot to handle if your business isn’t prepared. Luckily, we’re here to break it all down for you so holiday time can be a breeze for you and your people.

First up… holiday entitlement

Statutory entitlement is set at 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year, for almost all ‘workers’. The government defines workers as employees, agency workers, those who work irregular hours and those on zero-hours contracts.

So, for those who work a standard 5-day week, this works out to the equivalent of 28 days’ paid annual leave per year. As, an employer, you’re free to offer more than this, but 5.6 weeks is the statutory minimum.

Remember… you must include the details of employees’ holiday entitlement in their written statement of particulars – a legal document which outlines the basic terms and conditions of employment – from day one of their employment.

But what about part-time employees?

Part-time employees are still entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year. All you do is calculate their entitlement based on their usual working pattern.

The difference is, their 5.6 weeks’ allowance will amount to fewer than 28 days, in real terms.

For example, you have an employee who works three full days a week. Simply times the number of full days they work by 5.6 (the number of weeks entitlement) and you get their official number of holidays.

So 3 x 5.6 = 16.8 days’ leave a year, minimum.

New ruling for ‘part-year- workers

There has been a recent case (Harper Trust v Brazel) that has confirmed that part-year workers (which includes term-time workers) are entitled to a statutory minimum holiday entitlement of 5.6 weeks that should not be pro-rated or reduced to reflect that they don’t work through the whole year. The Supreme Court made a distinction between part-year and part-time workers, and it’s very important not to confuse the difference. Confused? Give us a call on 0345 844 1111 and we can help you make the right distinction in your business.


What does ‘accruing leave’ mean?

Have you got someone starting in the middle of the year? You can choose to use an accrual system during an employee’s first year.

Put simply, if your new starter joins the business in January, they are entitled to a full years’ holiday allowance.

However, if someone joins your team in March, they won’t have accrued (built up) three months’ worth of holidays.  So an accrual system evens this out by a new employee building up 1/12th of their leave in each month of the first year.

Let’s take a full-time employee who works a 5-day week and has a statutory annual leave entitlement of 28 days. If they start their job in April, they will accrue 1/12th of their leave for the next nine months of the year.

Can employees carry over annual leave to the next year?

It’s entirely at the discretion of your business, whether you allow employees to carry over a limited number of holiday days.

What’s most important is that you explicitly state this in your contracts of employment or company handbook and make sure that all your employees have read and understood how many days they’re able to carry over.

For example, you might decide that employees can carry over five days of leave into a new year, but they must be taken within the first three months of the year or they lose them.

Taking the pain out of holiday season…

If the summer holidays are a time you dread, not least because of the mental arithmetic you have to do, don’t worry. Citation has just what you need.

When you partner with us you get our HR & Employment Law team who are not only on the other end of the phone 24/7, but they can also help you calculate holiday entitlement and draft all the relevant clauses in your contracts.

Not only that, our online management platform – Atlas – makes managing holiday requests a breeze. Collect all your employee’s information in one, digital place and approve or reject holiday requests at the click of a button.

Want to find out how to make all of this and more yours? Just give the team a call on 0345 844 1111.

A guide to handling holiday leave

Annual leave is a day-one right for all workers - so, this quick how-to guide takes you through everything you need to know to fairly and legally manage holiday leave.

Download the guide

Get more information

Pop in your details and we'll call you straight back

We'll get back to you as soon as we can.