Every worker – whether part-time or full-time – is entitled to four weeks’ annual leave. Before 23 November 1999, it was three weeks.
A week’s leave should allow workers to be away from work for a week. It should be the same amount of time as the working week: if a worker does a 5-day week, he or she is entitled to 20 days’ leave; if he or she does a 3-day week, the entitlement is 12 days’ leave.
The leave entitlement under the regulations is not additional to bank holidays. There is no statutory right to take bank holidays off.
Workers must give the employer notice that they want to take leave.
Employers can set the times that workers take their leave, for example for a Christmas shutdown.
If a worker’s employment ends, he or she has a right to be paid for the leave time due and not taken.
WHO IS ENTITLED TO PAID ANNUAL LEAVE?
The entitlement to paid annual leave, including the right to compensation payments for untaken leave when you leave your job, begins on the first day of employment. However, the employer can optionally use an accrual system whereby during the first year of employment the proportion of the leave which may actually be taken (with the employer’s agreement) builds up over the year. The amount of leave which may be taken builds up monthly in advance at the rate of one-twelfth of the annual entitlement each month.
Where this calculation does not result in an exact number of days, the amount of leave which may be taken is rounded up to the next half day. Any rounded-up element is deducted from the leave remaining.
A full-time worker who is in his or her third month of employment would have built up 5 days’ leave. (The annual entitlement of 20 days multiplied by 3/12 equals 5 days).
A part-timer who works three days a week and is still in his or her first month of employment would be able to take one day’s leave. The annual entitlement of 12 days (four weeks times three days a week) multiplied by 1/12 equals one day.
A full-time worker who is in his or her eighth month of employment would have built up 13? days’ leave. The annual entitlement of 20 days multiplied by 8/12 equals 13.33 days, which is rounded up to 13? days.
NEW RIGHT TO PAID PATERNITY LEAVE
A right to paternity leave and pay is being introduced. Eligible employees will be able to take up to two weeks’ paid leave to care for their new baby and support the mother. The right will be available to employees whose children are expected to be born, or are born, on or after 6 April 2003.
NEW RIGHTS TO PAID LEAVE FOR ADOPTIVE PARENTS
A right to adoption leave and pay is being introduced. The new right will be available to individuals who adopt, or one partner of a couple where the couple adopt jointly. A right to paternity leave and pay for the other member of the couple, or an adopter’s partner, is also being introduced. Employees whose children are placed with them on or after 6 April 2003 benefit from the new adoption and paternity leave and pay rights.
RIGHTS TO PARENTAL LEAVE AND TIME OFF FOR DEPENDANTS
Employees – both mothers and fathers – who have completed one year’s service with their employers are already entitled to 13 weeks’ (unpaid) parental leave to care for their child. Parental leave can usually be taken up to five years from the date of birth or in cases of adoption five years from the date of placement (or the child’s 18th birthday, if that is sooner).
Parents of disabled children are entitled to 18 weeks’ parental leave (previously 13 weeks) up to the child’s 18th birthday, providing they have the qualifying length of service.