January sees the start of a new annual leave year for most employers. With changes to legislation meaning that employees can carry over up to four weeks of annual leave across the next two annual leave years, it is important to look at how best to manage annual leave over the next two years to enable employees to take this time with as little impact on the business as possible.
Here at advo hr, we have our Absence Management Portal that enables managers to see the balance of annual leave employees still have to book which makes the process of reviewing annual leave easier. If you do not already utilise this portal and would like to know more, please do get in touch and we can provide a demo of the portal for you.
Steps to Take
We advise that employers continue to encourage employees to take regular breaks. Some employers manage this by setting deadlines for taking holidays e.g., half of the annual leave entitlement should be taken by the end of June. This helps to manage the allocations, especially when some may have carried over annual leave into this leave year. If this is something you wish to implement, it should be done with prior communication to all employees, explaining clearly why the business has decided to introduce this new rule and whether it applies for one year only or whether it will be a standard process moving forward.
Employers also have the ability to specify when an employee has to take annual leave by giving twice the notice in relation to the length of the leave. For instance, if you wished for an employee to take one week off, you would need to give them two weeks’ notice of this. We would recommend this is a last resort if employees are not booking regular leave and only after having spoken to the employees to explain that it may be necessary for you as the employer to specify when they have to take their leave if they do not begin to start taking this.
Additional Bank Holiday in 2022
It is also important to note that there is an additional bank holiday that has been introduced for 2022 only. There will be a four-day weekend to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The May Bank Holiday Weekend will be moved to Thursday 2 June 2022 and an additional Bank Holiday on Friday 3 June 2022 will see a four-day weekend to celebrate. This will be another day to factor into the holiday allocations for most in 2022.
We will cover this in more detail closer to the time. However, there are some important things to remember in relation to bank holidays. There is no statutory right for employees to take bank holidays off work. Any right to time off depends on the terms of the employee’s contract of employment. We would advise that you take the time to read the wording in your employees’ contracts and ensure you have recorded what their annual leave and bank holiday entitlement is and if they are combined or separate.
Remember for a full-time employee the statutory minimum annual leave entitlement is 5.6 weeks which works out as 28 days. Depending on the contract of employment, this may include bank holidays or they may be separate. In any event, a full-time employee should be entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave per leave year. When an employee is part-time, it is recommended to give them a pro-rated allowance of paid bank holidays, irrespective of whether or not they normally work on the days on which bank holidays fall. This is because they have the right not to be treated less favourably than a comparable full-time worker which includes their entitlement to bank holidays.
If you would like to know more about our absence management system available to our clients or just need some additional help in supporting your employees then we are here to help. If the first instance email firstname.lastname@example.org to start a conversation.