It is perhaps ironic that taking holidays from work, which sounds like a very simple concept, has led to so much legislation and so many cases on how to calculate it. The basic legislative position is simple – a full time employee is entitled to a minimum of 28 days’ paid holiday per year, with this figure including the 8 bank holidays. There have however been numerous and on-going disputes about a lot of the detail in calculating this – for example what is a day’s pay, how do you calculate pay for people who work irregular hours, what happens when people are off work due to sickness, or for family friendly reasons etc? The list goes on.
But what happens to the worker who works 6 days a week? If the “full time” person working 5 days a week is entitled to 28 days’ holiday, should they not get an extra 20%, i.e. 33.6 days’ holiday? After all, a person who works half time, i.e. 2 ½ days a week, would only get 50% of the holiday enjoyed by the 5 days a week worker, so it would seem equitable that those who worked more days should get more holiday. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it is!
The statutory basis for the minimum holiday entitlement in the UK is the Working Time Regulations 1998. That provides that the maximum statutory (as opposed to contractual) holiday entitlement is 28 days a year, so even if someone worked 7 days a week, they would still only get 28 days’ paid holiday (although of course there is nothing to stop employers providing more). There may be other issues regarding excessive working time, but so far as paid holiday is concerned, they would have to make do with 28 days.
If you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or if you need advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team (01243 836840 or [email protected]).