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Baffled by Holidays

I think at least 50% of the queries I receive concern this very issue. I have reproduced the most common questions, hopefully, the answers will clarify most of the issues you may have.

The Law

The Working Times Regulations – first gave staff an entitlement to be paid leave. There have been a number of Tribunal and European court case subsequently providing further clarification

How much paid leave must staff receive?

Employees working a 5 days week must receive a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid leave per annum. For most full time staff, working 5 days a week, this equates to 28 days. The 28 days includes bank holidays.

What if staff start mid way through a leave year?

The easiest solution is to calculate 1 twelfth of their annual leave entitlement multiplied by the number of full calendar months remaining in the leave year.

Can I pay staff to work their holidays?

The 5.6 weeks leave was given for Health and Safety purposes to ensure staff had a minimum paid break from work i.e to ensure they have rest. Therefore you cannot pay staff to work their annual leave. Similarly rolled up holiday pay where staff receive a higher hourly rate to include holiday pay was outlawed some years ago.

Is it possible to specify when staff take their leave?

YES! Many staff have a clause in their contract indicating specific times of the year when leave can or cannot be taken, this allows the salon owner to fix when some leave is taken.

What do I do if my new member of staff wants to take two weeks leave before they have accrued this entitlement?

There are three options:

  • Refuse the leave – but this may not be good for staff relations!
  • Agree a mix of paid/unpaid leave – this will mean that the staff will also be able to take more leave later in the year. This may be counter productive as newer staff are likely to be less busy in their first few months.
  • Agree to the leave, but have a contractual clause allowing you to recover from their salary any excess leave taken if the therapist leaves before they have accrued sufficient leave.

Do staff receive full pay whilst they are on leave?

They should receive their normal weekly salary. If staff regularly receive commission then a sum to reflect average commission earnings should be paid in addition to their normal weekly pay.

How do I calculate the leave for part time staff?

This should be worked out in hours and not days. Let’s take this example, a full time member of staff working 40 hours would receive a minimum of 28 days leave per year. A part time therapist working 20 hours per week, should receive:

Twenty (hours) multiplied by 5.6 (weeks) which equates to 112 per year. Once again this can include bank holidays that fall on the employees normal working days. When the employee books a days or a weeks leave, simply deduct the hours they have taken from their overall annual entitlement.

David Wright Personnel

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