One of the biggest headaches in employing people is getting HR policies right. If you fail to have basic documentation in place, even in very small companies, it can cause untold hassles, costs, losses and much worse. So why take the risk?
Save time and money by using our ready made free employee handbook template in your business. This policy has been written by experienced HR professionals and is updated regularly to take into account changes in UK employment legislation. It’s as simple as downloading this document, editing to fit your company’s approach, and letting your employees know about it.
The holiday year runs from [1 January] to [31 December]. All full-time and part-time employees are entitled to [ ] weeks’/days’ paid holiday per annum.
All holiday must be taken during the holiday year in which it is accrued, unless the employee is absent on long term sick leave. [In exceptional circumstances a maximum of [five] days may be carried over from one holiday year to the next but this can be done only with the prior [written] approval of the [head of department]. In this case, any holiday carried over must be taken no later than [ ].]
All holiday dates must be approved in advance by the employee’s [head of department]. As much notice as possible of proposed holiday dates must be given to ensure adequate staffing coverage at all times. [Such notice must be at least twice the number of working days that the employee wishes to take as annual leave.]
Holiday pay is calculated on the basis of the employee’s current rate of pay [including commission payments/overtime/travelling-time allowances]
There will be no payment in lieu of any holiday not taken (except on termination).
Public and bank holidays
The organisation recognises [eight] public/bank holidays a year, the dates of which vary from year to year. All recognised public and bank holidays are permitted as paid holiday in addition to the annual holiday entitlement specified above. [The exact dates of public and bank holidays will be notified to all employees at the start of each holiday year.]
An employee will not be paid (or where appropriate a deduction will be made from salary) for any bank or public holiday if he/she is absent from work (other than on the organisation’s business or unless expressly authorised) immediately before or after the bank or public holiday. If absence immediately before or immediately after the bank or public holiday is due to sickness, payment for the bank or public holiday will be made only if a medical certificate is provided. The organisation will in these circumstances reimburse the employee for the cost of obtaining the medical certificate. Where a medical certificate is provided, sick pay will be paid for the absence subject to the terms of the organisation’s sick pay scheme.
Holiday entitlement in year of commencement
If the employee joins the organisation part way through a holiday year, he/she will be entitled to a proportion of his/her holiday entitlement based on the period of his/her employment in that holiday year.
During the employee’s first year of service, he/she will not normally be allowed, unless otherwise agreed by the [head of department], to take more holiday than he/she has actually accrued at the time holiday is taken. Entitlement during the employee’s first year is calculated monthly in advance at the rate of one-twelfth of the full year’s entitlement.
Holiday pay on termination of employment
If the employee leaves the organisation’s employment part way through a holiday year, he/she will be entitled to be paid for any accrued annual leave for that holiday year that has not been taken by the date of termination.
If, on the employee’s date of termination, he/she has taken paid holiday leave in excess of earned entitlement, he/she will be required to reimburse the organisation (by means of deduction from salary if necessary) in respect of such holiday.
No payment in lieu of accrued contractual holiday will be made to the employee (and where appropriate a deduction will be made from salary) in the event of his/her termination for gross misconduct or in the event of the employee giving inadequate notice of termination or leaving before the contractual notice period has expired. Contractual holiday for these purposes means all and any leave entitlement provided for in the employee’s contract that is over and above the minimum statutory leave period provided for in the Working Time Regulations 1998.
Sickness during holiday
Where an employee falls sick or is injured while on holiday, the organisation will allow the employee to transfer to sick leave and take replacement holiday at a later time. This policy is subject to the following strict conditions:
● The total period of incapacity must be fully certificated by a qualified medical practitioner [where it exceeds seven days].
● The employee must contact the organisation (by telephone if possible) as soon as he/she knows that there will be a period of incapacity during a holiday.
● The employee must submit a written request no later than 10 days after returning to work setting out how much of the holiday period was affected by sickness and the amount of leave that the employee wishes to take at another time.
● Where the employee is overseas when he/she falls ill or is injured, evidence must still be produced that the employee was ill by way of either a medical certificate or proof of a claim on an insurance policy for medical treatment received at the overseas location.
Where the employee fulfils all of the above conditions, the organisation will grant the employee the same number of days’ replacement holiday leave as the number of holiday days lost due to sickness or injury.
If an employee is ill or is injured before the start of a period of planned holiday, and consequently unable to take the holiday, the organisation will agree to the employee postponing the holiday dates to another mutually agreed time. Any period of sickness absence will then be treated in accordance with the organisation’s normal policy on sickness absence. The employee must submit a written request to postpone the planned holiday and this must be accompanied by a letter from his/her doctor confirming that he/she is unfit, or is still likely to be unfit, to take the holiday.
An employee must request to take any replacement holiday in accordance with the organisation’s normal holiday policy, and should try to take the replacement holiday in the same holiday year in which it was accrued. However, where an employee has good reason for not being able to do so, the organisation will allow the employee to carry that leave forward into the next holiday year. The organisation may require an employee to take all or part of his/her replacement holiday on particular days and it is not required to provide the employee with any minimum period of notice to do this, although it will aim to provide reasonable notice.
Holiday entitlement during sick leave
An employee who is absent on sick leave will continue to accrue his/her full statutory holiday entitlement. However, contractual holiday entitlement over and above the minimum statutory holiday entitlement provided for by the Working Time Regulations 1998 will not accrue during any paid or unpaid period of sick leave once an employee has been continuously absent for a period of [specify relevant period]. For the purpose of calculating the period of continuous absence, the organisation may disregard a return to work that is less than  working days.
An employee on sick leave may apply to take his/her accrued holiday entitlement while on sick leave. The holiday dates must be approved in accordance with this policy.
Disclaimer: The recommendations should only be used as guidelines. Please only select the portions that apply to your company. Neither the author nor joinair.com will assume legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information provided in whole or in part within this article.
This template is ready to be tailored to your company’s needs and should be considered a starting point for setting up your employment policies. You should edit the sections in [brackets] as appropriate for your company.
Read more about managing holiday in your company here.