Editor's message: The right to paid annual leave is set out in the Working Time Regulations, which derive from EU law. The Regulations came into force in 1998, resulting in an extra 96 million days a year of paid holiday (according to a TUC estimate).
The four weeks’ minimum leave under EU law was boosted by the introduction of a further period of 1.6 weeks' domestic annual leave in 2007 - meaning that workers are currently entitled to at least 5.6 weeks’ holiday a year (which can include bank and public holidays), paid at their normal rate of pay.
In recent years, a number of European Court of Justice (ECJ) decisions in relation to the operation of paid annual leave have muddied the waters for employers. Not only has the ECJ ruled that paid annual leave continues to accrue during sick leave, and can be carried over if not taken in the relevant leave year, but it has also decided that the calculation of holiday pay should be based not just on basic pay but on various other payments such as overtime and commission. However, this has left a number of important questions, including exactly how this should be worked out in practice.
In 2011, the then Government consulted about revising the Working Time Regulations to comply with ECJ decisions on the interaction between annual leave and sick leave, but no action was subsequently taken. Brexit may now provide an opportunity for the current Government to examine as a whole, and clarify for employers, the important area of workers' right to paid annual leave.
Sue Dennehy, employment law editor
XpertHR Quick Reference - statutory bank holidays 2020 (England and Wales).
XpertHR Quick Reference - statutory bank holidays 2020 (Northern Ireland).
XpertHR Quick Reference - statutory bank holidays 2020 (Scotland).
One in 12 workers are not receiving their full holiday entitlement, according to the TUC.
In Flowers and others v East of England Ambulance Trust, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that voluntary overtime must be included in the calculation of holiday pay for ambulance workers with a pattern of voluntary overtime that is sufficiently regular and settled.
Two in five UK employees (40%) took a maximum of just half of their annual leave entitlement during the past holiday year, according to the results of a survey by Glassdoor.
Updated to highlight the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation, in force from 25 May 2018, on this document.
In The Sash Window Workshop Ltd and another v King  IRLR 142 ECJ, the ECJ held that the right to paid annual leave of a "worker" who was treated as a self-employed, commission-only salesman could accumulate over an unlimited period, and that the worker was entitled to claim the accrued holiday pay on termination.
KFC employees have been asked to take annual leave to cover the working time they have lost following chicken supply issues that have affected hundreds of its outlets.
We discuss the implications for employers of the recent ECJ decision in The Sash Window Workshop and another v King, which opens up the risk of backdated claims for unpaid holiday.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to annual leave and holiday pay.