Holiday entitlement at work – legal opinions pls…

Home Forum Chat Forum Holiday entitlement at work – legal opinions pls…

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 79 total)
  • Holiday entitlement at work – legal opinions pls…
  • We currently offer 20 days per year holiday for new starters (raises to 22 days after three years) + all bank holidays and have normally given an additional three or four days off over Christmas.

    As the business has started to grow, we are finding that giving the additional ‘free’ time off is getting to be unworkable and expensive.

    We were considering telling staff they have to take three days from their normal entitlement over the Christmas period (which I believe we are perfectly entitled to do – compulsory holidays) but to sweeten the change, we were thinking of upping the basic holiday entitlement by a day or two.

    Is this legal and okay?

    And what would any of you think, as employees, to be told of such a change? Would it frack you off?

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    No way is that OK

    Custom and practice. These people have been working under those terms and conditions. This has become effectively a part of their contract.

    Want to do this then take real legal advice and be prepared for a complex negotiation.

    It doesn’t matter how the days off are defined – but you cannot reduce the total number.

    Legal minimum is 28

    Yes they get 28 days minimum each year – normally 31. And they normally get a half day on Christmas Eve.

    The custom and practice part is the bit I was concerned about – but no employee has worked for us for more than two years so surely custom and practice doesn’t come into play?

    allthepies
    Member

    Sounds perfectly fine to me and I’m sure any reasonable employee would understand and accept it.

    Premier Icon igm
    Subscriber

    28 including bank holidays and works shutdowns IIRC TJ

    edit – too slow

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    The custom and practice part is the bit I was concerned about – but no employee has worked for us for more than two years so surely custom and practice doesn’t come into play?

    Borderline I would say.

    Buy them out? offer new contracts with AL entitlement clearly shown and a small benefit elsewhere – pay rise or whatever

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    It sounds perfectly reasonable to me – surely most people have to take the 3 days at Christmas as holidays? Add the additional 2 days you are proposing and it looks like a very good deal.

    I’d maybe sit down with them individually with them and talk it through with them before making it policy.

    Premier Icon BlobOnAStick
    Subscriber

    Sounds fine to me.

    I guess it’s down to how unionised the workforce is and whether there’s a bunch of union representatives trying to make a name for themselves.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    /Do you want to be a good employer? Retain your staff? Then giving a few days more than legal minimum is a decent way to do this. 28 days is stingy.

    ebygomm
    Member

    If my holidays were reduced by 2 or 3 days, which is what this amounts to, there’d definitely be some goodwill lost especially if there’d been no consultation.

    If the company is doing well I’d wonder why they’d be prepared to risk my goodwill for the sake of a couple of days. If it was struggling I’d expect communication and consultation, ie we can’t give you the ‘free’ days at Xmas, you can either use annual leave or take them unpaid.

    Premier Icon cb
    Subscriber

    Do what you can afford to do.

    KINGTUT
    Member

    Sounds Ok to me, mastiles don’t take this the wrong way but this is the second question I can think of that you have asked on here re employment law, don’t rely on what people say on here, employment law is very complex, get a professional to advise you (I pay the Recruitment and Employment Confederation £700 a year for this privilege), not a bunch of people who think they might know.

    As the business owner it’s down to you to get it right and it’ll be all hell to pay if you get it wrong.

    Then giving a few days more than legal minimum is a decent way to do this. 28 days is stingy.

    Have you tried running a small business? Our highest paid employees take home more than I do as it is.

    It is tough here making a living and giving time off for free isn’t feasible any more.

    To be honest, this was brought into stark reality at Christmas just gone – a job needed doing very urgently but we had already committed to giving our staff time off (for free, on top of their entitlement) so we had to pay freelancers to complete the work. So basically we paid twice – once for our employees to have free time off, and again for the freelancers to do the work.

    None of the employees were willing to come in and help us out either.

    So it made me think – why TF should we give them this free perk?

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    Another way to approach this would be to just open the office between Christmas and New Year. If folk didn’t want to work, then they would have to take the days as annual leave. Of course the downside to this is the extra cost of opening and heating the office, and the inevitable number of shirkers who will take the opportunity to escape the outlaws for the 3 days because they ‘have to work’. When in fact, they’ll probably just be sat on their arses surfing the interweb and posting on random forums rather than doing any actual work.

    ’tis a difficult one. Another alternative would be to let folk work from home for those 3 days. You’d have to have a pretty good understanding of what folk had actually done though to make it pay.

    cynic-al
    Member

    Am ont sure on the custom and practice bit but if you want to hang on to your staff I’d be honest with them and explain what is happening and why and say any pay increase will be dependent on slight reduction in days off or work it that way – give them a choice?

    Junkyard
    Member

    negotiate and explain you may well find you reduce the leave and increase the sick rate so it saved you nothing …thatis what happened here so they changed back and sickness improved!
    People like their holidays more thna they like work.

    As the business has started to grow, we are finding that giving the additional ‘free’ time off is getting to be unworkable and expensive.

    So you could afford it hwne you were small but now youa r ebigger you cannot?
    Dont understand the accounting here tbh. Surely [you can work out the cost of each employee and what you earn from them why is this now a problem with say 10 when it was not with 5?

    Premier Icon Baldysquirt
    Subscriber

    A practice I used to work for did a similar thing, but it was pretty generous really. They changed from 20 days annual leave a year plus a free christmas shut down to giving 25 days annual leave, with the christmas shut down included within that figure.

    However, everywhere I’ve worked since has had 22 days annual leave with the Christmas shut down included.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    None of the employees were willing to come in and help us out either.

    There’s more broken than a potential spat about holiday entitlement then. You perhaps need to revisit your whole motivation / job design / empowerment thinking.

    Sounds Ok to me, mastilles don’t take this the wrong way but this is the second question I can think of that you have asked on here re employment law, don’t rely on what people say on here, employment law is very complex get a professional to advise you (I pay the Recruitment and Employment Confederation £700 a year for this privilege), not a bunch of people who think they might know.

    Absolutely – I wouldn’t rely on any advice given on here before actually doing anything, but it is a good start point for me to start to understand where the land lies. If, as in the last post, general opinion is all the same, then it seems pointless paying for professional advice.

    Thanks for the head’s up anyway 🙂

    Another way to approach this would be to just open the office between Christmas and New Year.

    We considered that, but then at least one of ‘us’ (the partners in the business) would have to come in and, to be frank, we like our Christmas break too.

    cycleworlduk
    Member

    Join the fsb it’s 150 a year and you get free legal advice…I’ve used it loads…

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    We considered that, but then at least one of ‘us’ (the partners in the business) would have to come in and, to be frank, we like our Christmas break too.

    so you want the paid staff to do something that the partners don’t want to do – and you wonder why they refused?

    Your workforce are your assets – you need to treat them well. A contented workforce does more work and has greater goodwill

    So you could afford it hwne you were small but now youa r ebigger you cannot?
    Dont understand the accounting here tbh. Surely [you can work out the cost of each employee and what you earn from them why is this now a problem with say 10 when it was not with 5?

    Well I think much of that is coming from the change in overall business levels – we committed to an expansion programme at the same time the ‘economic slowdown/recession’ started and have found the last couple of years tougher than previously.

    so you want the paid staff to do something that the partners don’t want to do – and you wonder why they refused?

    No we DON’T want them to, that’s why we are considering the OP as the workable option. We prefer to shut down over Christmas, but we can’t afford it. We (the partners) take our Christmas break out of our entitlement as well.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    A contented workforce does more work and has greater goodwill

    Very true – the problem is, that there are a range of things which make us contented and what works for 1 may not work for another.

    Junkyard
    Member

    imagine if your satff find out about STW !!
    You need to chat with them and see waht they say and what you can negotiate with them. It is obvoiious they will not be happy but you can get away with more in the current econimic situation. Perhaps phased reduction or other sweetener??

    Premier Icon Shandy
    Subscriber

    You could trim the festive allowance by a day or two and insist that you have rota cover year-round to avoid paying for freelance work again. You could give them the holidays elsewhere in the year to keep them happy, or find out the definition for custom and practise and knock it on the head now if it is going to annoy you in future.

    Premier Icon ART
    Subscriber

    Haven’t read all of that, but strikes me you’ve been pretty generous to date effectively giving an extra 3 or 4 days off over Xmas. That actually makes a standard 20 days for a starter look pretty good.

    I work in a small business and we have varying amounts of leave depending on experience/ when we joined etc. The office always closes for the week between Xmas and new year and those 3 ‘compulsory’ days come out of our overall allowance. It’s pretty standard practice. If we need those 3 days for other leave, then we can always take that time unpaid.

    Work up some options and speak to your staff.

    philfive
    Member

    amend the contracts for all new starters to reflect that they have to save 3/4 days to cover xmas. start consulting with current staff on the changes and see what happens. offer additional holidays if you want or even increase your loyalty bonus from 3 extra days to 5.

    FuzzyWuzzy
    Member

    I think your idea is OK but just not the reduction in overall holiday, holiday is very valuable for employees and any cut (whether it’s to official or unofficial holiday) is not going to be looked on favourably. I also think it’s a bit unreasonable to expect some staff to come in at short notice over Christmas, I’m normally very flexible but had family time planned over Christmas so wouldn’t have been an option for me, doesn’t mean I don’t care about the company I work for.

    How many of your employees are 3+ years service? Personally I’d just start at 22 days and up that to 25 days after 3 years (or 5 years if lots are 3-5 years service atm) and remove any unofficial holiday entitlement

    hels
    Member

    My second ever proper job (in NZ) the whole place closed for two weeks at christmas/new year. And it came out of your hols, of which you only had about 10 after statutory hols anyway. And we had quite a few non-christian staff who resented taking hols when they would rather have them at a time that meant something to them.

    At least it was sunny. Your lot sound like they don’t know they are alive sorry.

    Junkyard
    Member

    Your lot sound like they don’t know they are alive sorry

    What do you mean ? they are not entittled to a life outside of work and quality tme with their families/loved ones? You are alive and so would give up holiday entitlement?

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    they are not entittled to a life outside of work and quality time with their families/loved ones?

    This is pretty much true for a lot of people working for the ‘hated’ investment banks in the city. They just think of the bonuses at the end of the year as compensation.

    zokes
    Member

    Your lot sound like they don’t know they are alive sorry.

    For those of you doubting the need for unions, thoughts like this should spell it out for you. Race to the bottom for all… 🙄

    geetee1972
    Member

    Your workforce are your assets – you need to treat them well. A contented workforce does more work and has greater goodwill

    Sorry TJ but I think if that sentence read ‘a motivated does more work’ I’d agree with you. Being content I think gets you the bare minimum. The world is full of people who are there and niether engaged nor disengaged and just happy to plod along.

    thomthumb
    Member

    None of the employees were willing to come in and help us out either.

    this would concern me.

    Junkyard
    Member

    would concern me as well perhaps a we are all in it together type Osborne motivational speech perhaps with the roof down on your convertible Jag 😉
    Perhpas explain that the options are this or this or this

    eg reduced holidays, reduce staffing levels reduce pay anmd see what they prefer

    Scamper
    Member

    I’m not sure how 28 days is seen as stingy? Ok, perhaps compared to say the Armed Forces 40 days and i’m guessing other parts of the public sector.

    I have a similar thing – 20 days plus bank holidays plus xmas to new year period. Obviously within reason the employer can say when those statutory 20 days are taken. Can’t remember if we have clauses saying the xmas period is descretionary,as we’ll never be open anyway.

    allthepies
    Member

    28 days stingy ? 😆

    Not difficult to spot the public sector employees on here 🙂

    brakes
    Member

    sounds very reasonable to me, who wants to work at Christmas?
    make sure it’s legal and will actually give you a business (financial) benefit, then come up with a way of communicating it to employees in a way that makes it sound like they are getting more holiday. i.e. emphasize the additional allowance aspect
    and do it in writing first (email if possible, or letter), that way your message is clear and consistent and if anyone has a grumble then you can discuss it with them personally

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 79 total)

The topic ‘Holiday entitlement at work – legal opinions pls…’ is closed to new replies.