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Holiday rights improve from 1 April

19 March 2009

Statutory holiday entitlement for all employees and workers, which includes most freelances, will increase from 1 April 2009.

Currently, the minimum holiday entitlement set by law is based on 4.8 weeks per annum. From 1 April the entitlement will rise to 5.6 weeks, but a cap of 28 days will apply.

“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). ”
Put 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 who are unable to take any time off as paid holiday during the contract, need a number on which to calculate their holiday pay.

From 1 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 Direct.gov website.

The above statements refers to minimum statutory entitlements. Many BECTU members are covered by collective agreements which include more favourable holiday arrangements.

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