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May 16

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Annual Leave - Common Questions Answered

June is just around the corner and although the weather might not be totally cooperating, summer is here. For employers, this means managing holiday leave requests.

At Thesaurus Software, processing annual leave is one of the most common queries we receive from customers. This is in line with the Workplace Relations Commission’s stat, that in 2014 the majority of calls received to their helpline were in relation to the Organisation of Working Time.

The above, coupled with the fact that there have been a number of recent legislative changes in the area, means that employers, quite rightly, will have queries on the matter.

Common queries include:

Who is entitled to Annual Leave?

All employees earn holiday entitlements from time worked. There is no qualifying period. Employees on maternity leave accrue annual leave in the exact same way as they would if they are working. This also applies to all forms of protective leave including parental leave, paternity leave, carers leave, and annual leave.

Are employees on sick leave entitled to annual leave?

New legislation has ruled that as of 1 August 2015, employees on certified sick leave, normally long-term sick leave, will accrue annual leave. Any leave accrued in this manner must be used within 15 months of the end of the leave year in which it was accrued. Further information on this can be found here. Employees on uncertified sick leave will not accrue annual leave.

What is included in holiday pay calculations?

There have been a number of European cases on this subject in recent months. The courts have thought us that as a general rule of thumb when calculating holiday pay, employees should in no way be disadvantaged as a result of taking annual leave. The EU Court of Justice has ruled that holiday pay should not be based on basic pay alone.

Factors to consider:

  • Any regular shift allowance should be included.
  • Commission: if there is a regular commission structure in place this should be included in holiday pay calculations.
  • Overtime: If the employment contract stipulates that an employee must work a set amount of overtime each week then this is included in pay calculations. Regularly worked overtime, although not necessarily included in the contract of employment, should also be included. Irregular overtime should not be included.  

How to calculate holiday entitlement for irregular workers?

Holiday entitlement for workers with irregular hours should be calculated using an average of the hours worked in the previous 13 weeks.

Can an employer reject a holiday request?

Yes, employers have the right to specify when holidays should be taken. Requests for annual leave can be rejected based on the needs of the business. Equally, employers can specify when holidays should be taken, for example during periods of business closure.

In order to avoid confusion and conflict, employers are well advised to have clear annual leave policies and to ensure all staff are well aware of the protocols when it comes to leave.

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Posted in Annual Leave, Contract of employment, Employee Handbook