HR Update - Taking leave

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Our resident expert Jacqui Mann rounds up answers to some frequently asked questions about leave

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We get asked some questions on a regular basis here at HR4 Nurseries, so I thought it would be useful to share the questions and answers with you.

Are casual workers entitled to holidays?

Yes. If a member of staff works on a casual basis or very irregular hours, it is often easier to calculate holiday entitlement that accrues as hours are worked. The holiday entitlement of 5.6 weeks is equivalent to 12.07 per cent of hours worked over a year. The 12.07 per cent figure is 5.6 weeks’ holiday, divided by 46.4 weeks (being 52 weeks minus 5.6 weeks). The 5.6 weeks are excluded from the calculation as the employee would not be at work during those 5.6 weeks in order to accrue annual leave.

Are bank holidays a statutory entitlement?

There is no statutory entitlement to paid leave for public or bank holidays. Any right to paid time off for bank holidays depends on the terms of the employment contract. Paid bank holidays can be counted as part of the statutory 5.6 weeks’ or 28 days’ holiday entitlement.

I have a member of staff on long-term sick leave – do I have to pay her for holiday?

jmYes. As long as a contract exists between the employer and the employee, the statutory minimum entitlement to paid holiday will continue to accrue during periods of sickness absence. I recommend if you have a member of staff on long-term sick leave that you seek HR advice to help you deal with this. Don’t ignore the employee on long-term sick leave as you may find yourself having to pay a large amount of holiday pay.

Do employees accrue holiday when they are on maternity leave?

Yes. While on maternity leave, employees continue to build up their holiday entitlements just as they would if they were absent due to illness. If they can’t take all the leave they are entitled to during a particular year, they can carry it over to the following year. Many employers allow employees to add all of their annual leave on to the beginning or end of the maternity period. Any arrangements should be agreed following discussion between the employer and the pregnant employee and put in writing.

Can I contact someone who is on long-term sick leave if they have a fit note?

Yes you can. You may need to find out how the employee is progressing and discuss when they think they may return to work. You may also want to ask them to give consent for you to contact their GP to request a medical report. Take care not to become a nuisance, otherwise they may feel they are being harassed.

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