What you need to know about holidays and entitlements for this festive season

General, Employment Law / 24 November 2021
What you need to know about holidays and entitlements for this festive season

Closedown periods:  In a closedown period, employees can be required to use annual holidays or take unpaid leave.  Closedown periods are available to employers provided they are “customarily” used, and employees are given at least 14 days’ notice.

Annual holidays: Off the back of the 2021 lockdown, employees may have less accrued annual holidays to use. Employees who are entitled to annual holidays, can be required to take these with 14 days’ notice, if agreement as to the timing of holidays cannot be reached.

Public holidays: Employees are entitled to be paid for any public holiday, even if they don’t work that day, if it falls on a day that would ‘otherwise be a working day’ for them.

Where an employee works on a public holiday, they must be paid at the employee’s normal pay plus half that amount again, and if the public holiday is on a day that an employee would otherwise have worked, they will also be entitled to an alternative holiday. Alternative holidays can either be used, by agreement or at the employer’s direction, or may be cashed out by agreement, after 12 months has passed since accrual.

What is an “otherwise working day”: Not sure if your employee would have otherwise been working?  The Holidays Act 2003 lists factors to consider including, what the employment agreement states, what the work patterns are, any rosters or systems in place, whether the employee works only when work is available, and the reasonable expectations of the parties.

Transfer of public holidays:  This year Christmas Day and New Years Day fall on a Saturday meaning these days are automatically transferred to the Monday following the weekend. Additionally, Boxing Day and 2 January fall on a Sunday and therefore these days are transferred to the Tuesday following the weekend. This transfer occurs where the weekend is not one day than an employee would otherwise have worked.

Employers can also agree in writing with employees to transfer any public holiday to another day. The new date cannot be another public holiday and must be a day the employee would otherwise have worked.

Message for Employers

If you would like advice regarding public holidays, annual holiday entitlements or closedowns please contact our team.

Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law, health and safety and immigration topics, it should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice for specific situations. Please seek legal advice from your lawyer for any questions specific to your workplace.

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