Changes to holiday pay arrangements

Some important changes to holiday pay arrangements came into effect from 6 April 2020. This has seen the reference period for calculating holiday pay increase from 12 to 52 weeks. This change affects workers with no fixed or regular hours. It means that their holiday pay will now be based on the average pay they received over the previous 52 (not 12) weeks. The 52 week reference period will continue to function in the same way as the previous 12 week period.

Almost all full-time workers in the UK are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks' (or 28 days) paid holiday per year. This is known as their statutory leave entitlement or annual leave. Legally, employers can include bank holidays in this total although not all employers do this. Employers are also free to provide additional non statutory holiday entitlement.

An employee’s actual statutory entitlement depends on how many days they work per week but all employees including part-time, agency or casual workers are entitled to holiday. There is no statutory entitlement to holidays for the self-employed and there are special rules for those in the armed forces, police and civil protection services.

Part-time workers are entitled to a pro-rata entitlement. For example, 5.6 days holiday per year if they work one day a week. Employees who work irregular days or hours or that are in the first year of a new job can use HMRC’s holiday entitlement calculator to work out how many days they are entitled to.

Any employee that has a problem with their holiday pay should try and resolve the issue with their employer. If this does not work, there are a number of ways to resolve the dispute including contacting ACAS or taking their employer to an employment tribunal.

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