the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

From 1st April 2009, statutory minimum holiday entitlement for all employees and workers - including most freelances - will go up.

Right now it is based on 4.8 weeks per annum. From April it will rise to 5.6 weeks BUT with a cap of 28 days.  Or to put it another way: from April, in a 52-week year a worker should work for no more than 46.4 weeks; and should take time off as paid holiday for no less than 5.6 weeks (capped at 28 days). Any Bank Holidays which are paid but not worked WILL count towards the annual paid holiday entitlement.

If a worker is unable to take time off as paid holiday, then at the end of the contract or engagement they should receive holiday pay in compensation.
This means that the relationship between the holiday portion of the year (5.6 weeks) and the working portion (46.4 weeks), expressed as a percentage, will be 12.1%.

This figure is of more than academic interest. Freelance and casual members, working on short-run contracts of less than a year, and unable to take any time off as paid holiday during the contract, need a number to calculate their holiday pay. From April that number will be 12.1%. In other words, if they work right through a contract without taking any time off as paid holiday, they will be entitled to holiday pay equivalent to 12.1% of their basic pay.
This 12.1% figure is worked out in exactly the same way as previous holiday pay calculations ever since statutory holiday entitlement was introduced in 1998. It is in line with Government advice on the new entitlement at the directgov website.

NB. Everything above refers to minimum statutory entitlements. Many of our members are covered by collective agreements which include more favourable holiday arrangements.

23rd February 2009

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