I thought I would write a different kind of blog for a change! Annual Leave is an essential part of the HR and other benefits that an employee expects to get when working for you. It is an express term in the contract of employment and should detail both the standard number of days holiday and any bank holidays (which is a subject for another blog!).
Annual leave or paid holiday is a relatively new thing that was only introduced in the 30’s. The industrial revolution saw a significant shift from people working on farms and in agriculture and into factory / mill work. This new kind of work did not offer the seasonal breaks that working in farming offers. Although Sunday (and Christmas Day and Good Friday) was given as a day off for religious purposes, there was very little opportunities to get away from this brutal and difficult work. Four new public holidays were introduced by the Bank Holiday Act of 1871 (3 in Scotland).
This remained relatively unchanged until the 1st few years of the 20th Century, until then only senior managers and supervisors could expect some extra paid time off. The Trade Union Congress started to promote and campaign for paid holiday for workers in 1911 but it wasn’t until 1938 and the Holidays with Pay Act that gave workers the right to one week’s paid holiday per year, this only applied to those workers whose minimum rates of wages were fixed by the trade boards.
We then have to move on to 1948 and the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights which promoted the importance of leisure time and paid leave stating “everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay”.
Today as an employer you have to offer at least 20 days paid holiday and 8 days public holidays (this can change of course as with the Jubilee etc).
Annual Leave is an important part of employee wellbeing and its important that your people take regular breaks and holiday. When we draft Contracts of Employment for our clients we encourage them to add a clause stating that Holiday is used in the year it applies too and doesn’t roll over. There are always exceptions and this should be considered on a case by case basis, but by encouraging your staff to take holiday it can hep with maintain employee wellbeing.
As for me, I never had any holiday left at the end of the year and occasionally had to take some unpaid leave. This year the Burton Clan went to Camp Bestival in Dorset and had an absolutely brilliant time and im back and ready to help with HR, Business Admin and ISO.