Thursday, 5 March 2015

Working Time Regulations - Know the rules?

Working Time Regulations states that employees are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid holiday each year. This equates to 28 days paid holiday for those employed full time. If an employer chooses to provide additional paid holiday then this too is acceptable.

This 28 days provides an entitlement of 20 days paid leave per year (or the pro rate equivalent for part-timers) plus the 8 bank and public holidays in each year. Therefore, the 8 public holidays would count towards a workers 28 days statutory paid annual leave entitlement.


Companies which operate on a holiday year running from 1st January to 31st December will provide at least 8 public holidays. However holiday running from April to March will see 5 of those public holidays fall on different days each year. This means that holidays running from April to March could fall foul of its statutory obligation to provide 28 days paid leave if Easter falls early one years and late the next.

So for example, if a holiday year runs from 1st April to 31st March 2016, the employer will have 10 days of public holidays. However by contrast for example, if a holiday year runs from the 1st April to 31st March 2017, only 6 days of public holidays will go towards the statutory allowance.


The regulations should not be breached if an employers contract states that they are entitled to 28 days holiday (or pro rata equivalent) inclusive of bank and public holidays. This is also the case when employers are entitled to more than the minimum of 20 days plus bank and public holidays. However, if a full time worker's contract states they are entitled to 26 days for the 2016/17 period, the regulations would be breached. In circumstances such as this, an employer should allow for an extra 2 days paid holiday in order to comply with the law.

Payments in lieu

Organisations which will be affected by this Easter time anomaly for 2016-17 may be persuaded to make a payment in lieu of 2 extra days holiday. However, this would be contrary to the regulations. It is important to be aware that it is unlawful to 'buy-out' an individuals minimum right to leave except where employment has ended.

Possible Solutions

Where there are 10 public holidays in the year such as 2015-2016, productivity can be affected. This suggests that employers should consider a longer term solution. In order to prevent breaching the contract, employers could seek workers agreement to:

  • change the holiday year
  • change the wording in the employment contract
  • carry leave over into the following year (this will account for the additional 1.6 weeks leave provided by EU law)
Before the 2015-2016 years starts, employers should consider checking their employment contracts and how to make amendments if necessary.

If you would like further information or advice on working time regulations simply click here. Or alternatively you call MTA Solicitors on 0208 313 5121.

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