Holidays for 2018 – Extra entitlement for Easter?

With January well on its way, our thoughts are turning to Spring and holiday plans. The next holiday on the horizon for many of us is Easter and some of you may have realised that Easter 2018 will span two holiday years for some employers.  

Easter 2018 falls between 31st March (Good Friday) and 1st April (Easter Monday). The early Easter break could mean that employees get 1 extra holiday day in the 2017/2018 year or that Employers risk breaching the working time directive and/or employment contracts because there are only 7 bank holidays (No Good Friday) in the 2018/2019 year.

How this effects employees depends on the wording of your employment contracts and how their holiday year falls.

If your employment contract does not specify the number of Bank Holidays (e.g. “20 days plus all Bank Holidays”) then as an employer you have a legal obligation to pay all Bank Holidays including ones for Jubilees, Royal Weddings and other occasions. However if your contract does specify the details (e.g. “20 days plus 8 Bank Holidays”) than you have a decision to make this year:

  • Option 1 – Acknowledge the anomaly and close down as normal on Good Friday, giving employees an additional day’s holiday this year.
  • Option 2 – Give employees the option to take 30th March (Good Friday) as unpaid leave or work it. You will need to start the discussion with employees soon.

Option 2 could well have some impact in terms of morale and or goodwill, particularly if you have not already looked ahead and given employees notice.

As an employer you may well now be saying why can’t the extra day in 2017/2018 not be seen in lieu of the reduced days in 2018/2019?

The answer – this would be in breach of the working time directive and possibly your employment contracts. The statutory allowance is 5.6 weeks per year for a full time employee which is 28 days and can include Bank Holidays of which there are usually 8.

Our advice is to look at your employment contracts and ensure that you understand the situation and communicate your plans to your employees. Make sure that everyone has their legal minimum entitlement in the 2018/2019 year.

If you are still confused please give the team at New Dawn Resources a ring and we will be happy to help.

For future reference the next time Easter will fall on this date is 2024 so even if you haven’t made advance plans for this year you will have plenty of time to correct the situation before it happens again. You could consider:

  • Changing your holiday year to the calendar year.
  • Specifying the number of bank holidays you recognise each year, 8.
  • Include in your leave policy that employees will have a choice on any additional bank holidays to either work or take the day off without pay.