Expert Calls On Employers To Act
Employers need to ensure that their staff are fully aware of what days they have off as leave as the upcoming deluge of public holidays draws closer, an expert at Irwin Mitchell has warned.
With both the Easter Holidays and the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton coming up, a number of workers are gearing up for extra time off with their families towards the end of this month.
However, new research by recruitment firm Badenoch & Clark has revealed that a quarter of office workers claim to still not know whether they are set to be allowed the day of the wedding, April 29th, off as leave.
Emily Aryeetey, an employment law solicitor in Irwin Mitchell’s London office, said: “This is an issue that companies have had plenty of time to consider, but unfortunately it now seems that many are under-prepared.
“It is vital that businesses and other organisations which have waited on a decision clarify their position as soon as possible as many workers may incorrectly be under the impression that they should be entitled to the day off.
“Under the Working Time Regulations, employees are entitled to at least 5.6 weeks’ holiday each year but there is no automatic right for time off on public holidays.
“Whether workers are entitled to time off will depend on the wording in their contracts. Some contracts will include public holidays in the annual leave entitlement whereas others will allow workers to take public holidays in addition.
“If the contract specifies which public holidays may be taken workers will not necessarily have the right to take the 29th April off so employers may use their discretion either to grant workers an extra day off or to allow them take time off in lieu. Alternatively, employers may allow workers to take the 29th off in exchange for losing one of the public holidays specified in their contracts.
“If companies are to avoid any potential disputes or workplace issues, they should clearly state what will happen if some employees are needed on the day, as well as consider arrangements which are suitable for all involved. For example, it may be worthwhile making it clear that not all annual leave requests will be accommodated, or offering workers time off in lieu.
“A failure to act on this issue and be clear with employees could lead to a growing number of disgruntled workers.”