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Holiday Year Hassle

View profile for Sarah Whitemore
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Does your holiday entitlement year run from 1 April – 31 March?  If so, does your employment contract state that your employees’ paid annual leave entitlement is “20 day’s holiday plus bank holidays”?  If the answer is another “yes” you need to ensure your business is prepared for the upcoming shift in Easter holiday dates.  Sarah Whitemore, Employment Partner, explains how the dates will impact your holiday year and what steps you should consider to avoid your employees losing part of their holiday entitlement, and you being at risk of breach on contract claims.

Under the Working Time Regulations, employees are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ annual leave, equating to 28 day’s leave per year for employees working a five-day week. The 28 days can include bank holidays, of which there are usually eight per year.

This year and next year will be the exceptions to the rule if your holiday year runs from 1 April to 31 March.  The Easter break this year saw the bank holidays on 3 and 6 April.  In 2016, the bank holidays are earlier on 25 and 28 March and in 2017 the Easter break will be later; on 14 and 17 April.  This means that two Easter breaks will fall within one holiday year (1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016) and in that year employees may gain two additional bank holidays.  There will however be no Easter breaks in the year 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 and so in that year employees will lose two bank holidays which may result in employers only providing full timers with 26 days annual leave rather than their entitlement of 28.

There are two options open for employers: either absorb the cost of an additional paid holiday day in 2015/2016, or vary the terms of contract to cover the anomaly following negotiations with the workforce.

No matter the option that is chosen, employees must be consulted with and informed, as if not employers could open themselves up to potential breach of contract claims; a result potentially more costly than an extra holiday day!

If you’re concerned about how your business will handle the holiday entitlement, you can contact Sarah or the Employment Team on 02380 717717 or visit their section of the website here.


This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.