The way bank holidays fall in 2018 means those employers with a holiday year running from 1st April to 31st March may need to give their employees an additional day of annual leave.
In the April 2018 to March 2019 period there will only be 7 bank holidays, but there were 9 bank holidays in April 2017 to March 2018. This is because Good Friday 2018 fell on 30th March.
Under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR), employees are entitled to a minimum of 28 days (5.6 weeks) annual leave. This means that where an employer’s leave year runs from 1st April to 31st March and an employee’s contract of employment specifies their right to annual leave as ‘20 days plus bank holidays’, they would be left with only 27 days’ annual leave.
To avoid being in breach of the WTR, employers should therefore ensure that any employees with this type of contract receive an additional extra day of annual leave in order to bring the total number of leave days back up to the 28 day minimum. Under the WTR, employers cannot offset for the additional day that such employees will have benefited from in the 17/18 holiday year.
If your employment contracts are drafted as ’28 days inclusive of bank holidays’ then your systems will need to be adjusted to ensure they have 21 days to take on days of their choosing.
Even for other employees, if the employment contract is drafted to specifically give the right to 8 bank holidays then such employees could argue a breach of contract if they are only given 7. On a breach of contract claim it will be easier to argue that the 9th bank holiday employees received last year should be counted in credit for the shortfall in this holiday year.
If you have any queries, please contact your usual contact in the Employment and Pensions team.