Why you should plan your 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025 holiday year now

30th May 2023

Why you should plan your 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025 holiday year now

Employees are entitled under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (“Regulations”) to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave per year. This can include bank holidays and many employers offer their employees 20 days holiday plus 8 bank holidays each year.

In the vast majority of cases, this will be compliant with the Regulations. However, in 2024 Good Friday falls on 29 March. This means that employers in England and Wales (there are more public and bank holidays in Scotland and Northern Ireland) who operate a 1 April to 31 March holiday year and offer the minimum statutory holiday entitlements only (including bank holidays), will need to award an additional day’s annual leave or the employees will only have 27 days holiday during the 2024/2025 holiday year which will be a breach of the Regulations. Even if you awarded additional days holiday in previous holidays years including, for example, during the 2023/2024 holiday year you gave 10 bank holidays (2 Good Fridays and the King’s Coronation bank holiday), you cannot offset extra holidays given in one year against statutory entitlements in another holiday year.

Employers who are wondering whether they need to grant ‘additional’ bank holidays above the usual 8 in any holiday year will need to consult their contracts of employment. Where the contract references ‘usual’ bank holidays or 8 bank holidays, it is likely that there is no obligation to grant any additional bank holidays although Good Friday (even when there are two in one holiday year) would be considered to be a usual bank holiday. Where the contract simply grants an entitlement to bank holidays, it is likely that any additional bank holidays will need to be given as paid time off.

What are the implications for employers who breach the Regulations?

Workers who are prevented from taking their statutory entitlement to holidays under the Regulations can bring claims in the employment tribunal. Where a claim is successful, compensation may be awarded and the tribunal has discretion in deciding how much to award taking into account the level of default and any loss incurred as result of the breach. Employees relying on their contractual entitlements, could bring a claim for breach of contract if their contractual entitlement to holidays is not complied with.

To avoid the costs and adverse publicity of such claims, it is therefore important for employers to ensure that all workers receive their full entitlement each year.

If you need advice on holiday entitlements or the terms of your employment contracts, please contact Claire Hollins on 0161 912 6148 or clairehollins@kuits.com

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