Employers aren’t required by law to have a Holidays Policy, but it’s a good idea for employers of all sizes to have such a policy.
The holidays law and their relationship with other kinds of leave and pay is complex, so the more an employer says about the matter, the better. An employee has a legal and contractual entitlement to paid holiday and their right to take paid holiday should be set out in their contract of employment. But, employers will not want to include in the employee’s contract all the information about booking a holiday as this will be too cumbersome and also make it contractual.
So, it is better for an employer to have a separate non-contractual Holidays Policy to include the points that the employer does not want to have in the employee’s contract of employment.
When drafting a Holidays Policy, an employer should first of all make sure that it does not conflict in any way with the employee’s contractual rights as contained in their employment contract.
A good Holidays Policy will set out:
- what holiday an employee is entitled to
- when they should take it
- how an employer will calculate the employee’s holiday pay
- how they can book their holiday
- what happens if they can’t take all their entitlement during the holiday year.
It may also cover such eventualities as what happens if an employee falls ill while on holiday and how they can convert the period of sickness from holiday to sick leave.
Your responsibility as an Employer
As a matter of law employers must give employees employment contracts which cover the key terms of the employment relationship, but the contract won’t cover all of the policies, procedures and expectations for the relationship between a business and the people within it. A employee handbook can include information for all team members, including employees, workers, apprentices and agency staff. Not only can a employee handbook bring together useful guidance for everyone on the culture, values and expectations the business as but it will often be a resource that can save a dispute from arising or provide the best framework for resolving a dispute. The non-contractual policies and procedures that can be included in a employee handbook will sit alongside contracts of employment to set out how employees are expected to act and how the employer will deal with certain situations.
Putting all the policies and procedures together in one place that is accessible to everyone working in a business is good practice and can provide an invaluable framework for reference on all of the HR issues to cover. If any grievance or dispute arises, having a policy or procedure to refer to and follow can help prevent the situation escalating. If the worst occurs and a claim comes before a tribunal, being able to show the policies and procedures that were followed can make a huge difference to the outcome.
Holiday Policies are important to include in your Employee Handbook to efficiently manage employee holiday requests and keep everyone on the same page about whether it will be accepted or denied. For more information get in touch with our Employment Law team on 0330 912 8338.
© Atkins Dellow LLP 2022
© Atkins Dellow LLP 2022
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