Holiday Pay – Making Sure You Know Your Rights

By Mary Gavin,

Employment Law Solicitor, Francis Hanna & Co

holidaySummer is almost here and if you’re anything like me you are counting the days until you can dust off the sunglasses , stick your ‘out of office’ on and head off to sunnier climates for a well deserved break!

But before you go, are you aware of what your legal entitlement to holiday leave and pay is?

How much holiday pay am I entitled to?

Workers have a right by law to at least 5.6 weeks paid annual leave – this is basically 28 days paid holiday for a five day working week.   This right comes from the Working Time Regulations (NI) 1998.

The main things you should know about your rights to holiday leave are:
  • You should get a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave if you work full time.
  • If you are a part-time worker, you are entitled to the same level of holiday pro rata.
  • Your entitlement to holiday pay starts to build as soon as you start work.
  • Your employer can control when your holidays are taken.
  • If you leave your job, annual leave days that you have accrued but not taken will be paid.
  • Your employer can include bank and/or public holidays as part of the 5.6 weeks leave.
  • You are entitled to holiday leave throughout ordinary and additional maternity leave, paternity and adoption leave
Should commission be included in my holiday pay?

When you are off on holiday, you are entitled to be paid your normal salary.

However, there was a recent case (known as Z.J.R Lock v British Gas Trading Ltd and Others) where the European Court looked at whether holiday pay should only be based on normal salary or whether it should include commission also.

The Court decided that there was an entitlement to holiday pay based on both normal salary and commission as otherwise it would put people off taking holidays if they were to lose out on commission payments.

This case is still ongoing as the manner in which commission is calculated has yet to be finalised by the Court.

Should overtime be included in my holiday pay?

There was recently the case of Bear Scotland & Ors v Fulton & Ors which concerned whether or not overtime payments should be included in the calculation of holiday pay or not. It was held that guaranteed overtime payments were to be included in holiday pay.

Each case must be looked at on its own facts and therefore it would be necessary to seek legal advice if you had any query about how much holiday pay you are entitled to.
Happy Holidays!
If you require any further information this area, please feel free to contact Mary at mgavin@fhanna.co.uk or leave your comments below.

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