One of the latest trends we have seen in our HR and Employment Law cases have been regarding the matter of accrued holidays. With the cost of household goods and services rising, workers have been asking if they can be paid for accrued holidays. This is a very timely matter that people face, particularly with the predicted 54% increase of electricity and gas bills for the typical household, going up by £693 a year.
Here THSP’s Employment Law Consultant Director, Andrew Wilson, considers whether there is anything to be mindful of when dealing with cases related to this issue.
What is accrued holiday?
Accrued holiday is a term to describe where an employee builds up their annual leave over the first year of their employment. When starting a job, you begin to accrue or ‘accumulate’ your holiday entitlement. The annual leave an employee receives is built up every month. For instance, after 3 months of working at a company, an employee would have accrued a quarter of their annual entitlement.
Your employer will decide whether or not you can carry over any untaken leave days into the next holiday year. This is where the accrued holiday requests arise, with employers raising the question as to whether they can be paid for the untaken days of work.
Accrued holiday requests
The Working Time Regulations 1999 is predominately health and safety biased as it affords rest breaks and leave for all workers to mitigate fatigue that could induce an enforced incident at work that would not normally occur with a well-rested worker. Where a worker does not, or cannot, take such breaks and then an incident occurs any ensuing investigation could result in a prosecution against the employer who has prevented the leave if that is deemed to be the route cause or contributor to the incident.
If, therefore, holidays are being paid in lieu opposed to being used then consider the risk that any reduced leave could cause on the worker. Further, workers can ‘whistle blow’ for breaches of working time rules if they feel unduly treated.
That said, if the worker is making such requests, then consider any potential risks on a case-by-case basis. Think about the hours they work, the pattern they are on and off shifts, any health conditions, the type of work they do and any industry limitations as with HGV and medical staff.
If you require any help on this or any other HR matter then call us on 03456 122 144 where we will support you.