Employers should get ready for new rules surrounding holidays - Kate Wyatt

New laws surrounding holidays are due to take effect in a little over a month’s time, with further changes to rules on redundancy processes, tips, flexible working and sexual harassment to follow.

The raft of changes means businesses are best advised to stay on their toes and prepare for the new rules as they come into force.

Come April, employers of part-year or irregular hours workers will have different options on how to assess holiday entitlement and pay, for any new holiday years starting after that date.

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This will include options for calculating holiday entitlement as 12.07 per cent of the hours worked in a pay period and rolling pay for that entitlement up as an addition to basic pay.

Kate Wyatt is an Employment Law Partner, Lindsays (Picture: Alan Richardson)Kate Wyatt is an Employment Law Partner, Lindsays (Picture: Alan Richardson)
Kate Wyatt is an Employment Law Partner, Lindsays (Picture: Alan Richardson)

The rules are complex and need careful implementation. They don’t apply to regular hours workers.

In addition, although regular hours workers will continue to see a difference in pay for the first four weeks of holiday (to include commission, regular overtime pay and similar) and the remaining 1.6 (which can be paid as basic pay only), where rolled-up holiday pay is used for part-year and irregular hours workers, all holiday should be at ‘normal’ rates of pay.

Staff should be reminded well before the end of the holiday year that all holidays should be taken wherever possible, to minimise risk of it being carried forward.

There will also be redundancy-related protections for employees who are pregnant or on maternity or other family leave.

Currently, staff on maternity leave, or some other forms of family leave, whose posts are redundant are entitled to be offered available alternative employment in preference to other at-risk staff – until the period of leave ends.

From April, enhanced protection will start when an employee tells their employer they are pregnant and extend to 18 months after a child’s birth. Although there are some requirements to qualify, the number of staff with priority for alternative roles is likely to increase significantly.

There will also be significant changes to flexible working. Not only will employees have the right to request this from their first day in post – rather than after 26 weeks – but they will also have the right to make two applications in a 12-month period. Thinking through whether a post can be advertised as flexible will make handling early requests more straightforward.

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In addition, come September, rules are expected permitting workers to request more predictable terms and conditions, where there is a “lack of predictability” over working patterns.

July, meanwhile, is expected to bring rules which will require all tips to be passed on to workers without deductions – meaning employers will have a duty to ensure that all tips, including those made via card payments, are allocated fairly. This brings with it a new level of record keeping – one that it is important to get right.

From September, a further duty will be placed on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees.

Key to managing all of these changes will be a review and refresh of policies, procedures and staff training – especially for management who will be implementing the new rules – along with an update of record keeping arrangements to ensure appropriate detail is captured and retained.

For employers planning staffing changes, an awareness of enhanced redundancy protections and an understanding of new rules among managers along with access to relevant records will be vital.

Kate Wyatt is an Employment Law Partner, Lindsays

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