Why is an April – March holiday year a bad idea?

Why is an April – March holiday year a bad idea?

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5 Dec 2017

The Working Time Regs 1998 entitle employees to a minimum of 5.6 weeks statutory holiday each year equating to 28 days for those who work a 5 day week. If an employee is allowed less than 5.6 weeks then put simply you will be breaking the law. For many employers with an April – March holiday year that will indeed happen this holiday year. The 5.6 weeks includes bank holidays, and if (as is the case with most small employers) you allow just the minimum legal entitlement to holiday, it is these bank holidays that cause the problem.

The problem is illustrated nicely by the Easter 2018 break. The Good Friday bank holiday is on 30 March 2018 and Easter Monday is on 2 April 2018 (the following holiday year). If your holiday year is April – March then for the 2017/18 year you will be giving employees not 5.6 weeks as the law requires, but 5.4 weeks. Put simply….you’re breaking the law. Whether anyone notices or cares (there’ll be an extra day in the 2018 – 19 year after all) is something of a moot point, but a legal breach it undoubtedly will be.

So what remedy exists for this problem? Well you could bring a day forward or hold a day back depending on when Easter falls and if you have an automated holiday system you’ll need to reprogramme it every time Easter Monday strays into April, which is frankly a bit of a faff. Alternatively you could change your holiday year to January to December and the problem will never ever occur again. If you’d like advice on how to do that, please contact your favourite myHRdept advisor.

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