Managing Employee Annual Leave Entitlement: simply and effectively

Rest, relaxation and other commitments – employee annual leave in the uk is taken for a myriad of reasons. If you are responsible for employee holiday tracking within your company, then you already know how important taking time off is for your employees. Not only does rest reduce employee’s stress levels, but it also promotes motivation and increases productivity, among other physical and mental benefits. It’s for this reason, you want to make sure your employees are taking their full annual leave request.

Many human resource admins struggle how to find the best way to track employee annual leave, especially when there are many different types of leave that exist that complicate the process. With so many options for time-off: sick leave, stress leave, parental leave; finding a holiday tracking software that lets you easily track and monitor what’s occurring within the company is key!

Annual Leave in the UK Explained

Annual leave is paid time off work, also known as statutory leave entitlement, granted by employers to employees to be used for whatever the employee wishes.

Now, this raises a few questions, such as, ‘Are part-time employees entitled to the same leave as full-time employees? Let’s talk about entitlement when it comes to holiday leave and how it is paid out.

Are your employees entitled to leave?

The time-off an employee is entitled to is usually paid at the same rate as an employee’s normal daily wage. In the UK, a full-time worker is entitled to 28 days of paid holidays and almost all workers are entitled to 5.6 week’s paid holiday a year, including agency workers, workers with irregular hours and workers on zero-hour contracts. Employers can include bank holidays within your minimum annual leave entitlement. A part-time worker is entitled to an annual leave payment of at least 5.6 weeks to but it will amount to less than 28 days. For example, an employee working half hours would receive 14 days. An employee working three days a week must receive at least 16.8 days.

Managing Employee Time-off Requests

Are you wondering how you manage employee holidays in the best way? We’re going to share with you a better way to manage employee time off requests rather than with an outdated holiday tracking spreadsheet. Here are a few tips for managing holiday requests better:

Have a well-defined leave policy for employees

Make sure to communicate the holiday entitlement policy with new staff during the on-boarding process. All of this information should also be available in the employee onboarding handbook.

Employ a tool to manage leaves (ie. online leave management software)

Ensure compliance with labour laws in the UK in regards to the minimum number of holidays per year your employees are entitled to by using holiday booking software.

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Before Accepting Holiday Requests: What to know

An employer must be aware of a few essential things before accepting an employee’s holiday request on your HR software.

  • There are adequate resources to cover the absence to ensure business requirements are met.
  • The leave is discussed and mutually decided upon by the employer and employee.
  • Ensure there are no conflicting requests and/or too many employees away at one time.

While it is easy to just follow a ‘first come first served’ system when considering holiday requests, a better way of managing employee holiday requests and absences are required. To ensure your business runs smoothly during yearly absences, proper absence management is necessary.

Unused Annual Leave

Employees often ask, what happens if I don’t take my annual leave? Can I lose my annual holiday leave days or am I able to roll them over into the following year? On a lot of occasions, employees choose not to take the holidays they are entitled to. This may be due to the fact they are workaholics, or because they can’t leave as a result of pressing deadlines or maybe their company is short-staffed. One way to prevent this is by outlining a clear holiday policy that employees can easily reference in their online employee portal.

Employees who do not take breaks or holiday leave experience lower productivity, quicker burnout, stress, workplace illness, low motivation level among staff and high staff turnover, ultimately costing the company or business.

Stress Leave from Work

As an HR admin, there’s one thing that’s even more important than calculating holidays; do you know what that is? Whether you like it or not, one of the most important aspects of your role is to act much like a ‘school counselor’. You should be able to be in tune with the needs of your employees and recognise when they are under excessive stress or pressure.

Is stress leave from work part of the annual time-off?

Yes and no. An employee may choose to use one of their holidays as a day off due to stress leave at work. However, by law in most countries, employees are entitled to a certain amount of stress leave days a year. This number may range anywhere from 2-10. Time off for stress leave in the UK varies according to different cases of each employee and what the companies policies are. Stress sick leave and anxiety sick leave are the most common reasons for sick leave- and men are more likely to be off longer than women.

Stress and anxiety are the leading causes of sickness in the UK’s workforce, accounting for more than a third of doctors’ notes to employers. Employees can show a medical certificate for sick leave for mental health reasons if they feel its necessary. In addition, an employee often has other types of day off entitlements. Here are some of the most common types of leave in the UK which, are often paid outside of the holiday allotment.

  • Sick Leave (w/ doctor’s note)
  • Maternity leave
  • paternity leave
  • Compassionate leave
  • Moving House
  • Getting Married

Maternity Leave UK Law

Maternity leave is the time off work granted to an employee before and after giving birth. People often ask the question, how much maternity leave will I get? The maximum is 52 weeks maternity leave . An employee can hand in a maternity leave request letter to their employer. ‘Ordinary maternity leave’ covers the first 26 weeks and ‘Additional maternity leave’ covers the second 26 weeks.

Maternity Sick Leave

Sick leave when pregnant UK applies to women who are unwell during their pregnancy. If you are sick during this period, you should follow your employer’s usual sick leave policy. It’s mandatory your employer records any pregnancy related sickness absence separately from other types of sick leave, so that the pregnancy related sickness is ignored as an absence and not used to your disadvantage for dismissal or redundancy.

It’s important to review your contract to see how many days sick leave you are eligible for or ask your HR department. If you are not authorised to contractual sick pay you may be authorised to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). If for some reason, your employer disapproves of a paid sick leave during pregnancy, you may be permitted for workforce pregnancy discrimination and should seek for advice promptly.

Paternity Leave UK Law

In the UK you have entitlement to paternity leave, meaning you can take time off when your partner is having a baby. So, the questions you may want to know the answers to are how much paternity leave are fathers entitled to? When does paternity leave start?. Qualifying dad’s can take up to 2 weeks paternity leave and the earliest the leave starts is the date of child birth or later. However, it must end within 56 days of the child’s birth. Some employees may allow fathers to take more time off, depending on the company regulations and the requirements for paternity leave.

Is Paternity Leave Paid?

According to the paternity leave government regulations, the statutory weekly rate of Paternity Pay is £151.20, or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). The money you get is paid in the equivalent way as your wages, e.g. monthly or weekly. Tax and National Insurance will be withdrawn from this amount.

Adoption Leave UK

If you’re adopting a child, you are eligible to get time off to attend 2 adoption appointments after you’ve been paired with a child. You must give your employer proof of adoption to qualify for adoption leave pay if employers require it. Additionally, you and your partner may be able to qualify for shared adoption leave, where you can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between you.

Parental Bereavement Leave Policy (Jack’s Law)

From April 2020, employed parents are entitled to two weeks’ bereavement leave following the death of a child. This accounts for employed parents who have lost a child under the age of 18, excluding self-employed workers. Rights to parental leave for bereavement is also available to adoptive parents, as long as the adoption placement has not been obstructed.

Now you may ask, how long is the parental leave entitlement? Each parent will be entitled to take 2 weeks off during the year following the death of their child. This can be taken in two sections of 1 week periods or a single block of 2 weeks together. The employer is not allowed to refuse, postpone or amend the dates chosen by the employee, however the leave should be taken within 56 weeks, starting on the day of the death of their child. If the employee loses more than one child, they have the right to a period of bereavement leave for each child. This type of leave is paid in the same way as maternity, paternity and adoption leave mentioned previously.

Effectively manage employee annual leaves w/ Factorial’s HR holiday tracking software.

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