Paid annual leave

Fiona CumingEditor's message: The right to paid annual leave comes from the Working Time Regulations, which derive from EU law. They came into force in 1998 and gave workers, for the first time, the legal right to a minimum period of paid holiday leave each year. The TUC estimates that workers gained an extra 96 million days a year of paid holiday as a result.

Currently, full-time workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ holiday a year (including bank and public holidays), paid at their normal pay. Over and above your organisation's direct employees, the term "worker" includes contract staff, casual workers, homeworkers, agency temps and some freelance workers.

But while holidays are relaxing, calculating holiday pay for your workforce has become hard work. In a series of holiday pay cases, the courts have determined that payments such as overtime, commission and shift allowances are part of “normal pay”.

And the courts have also been busy discussing your workforce’s entitlement to paid annual leave during sickness absence and to what extent a worker is able to carry over leave accrued during a period of sickness absence at the end of a leave year.

Fiona Cuming, employment law editor

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