Increased holiday entitlement proposals amended Under the Working Time Regulations 1998 every worker - whether part-time or full-time - is entitled to four weeks’ paid holiday per year, or proportionally for part of a year. In April we reported on the proposed statutory increase to:

(a) 4.8 weeks on 1 October 2007 (equivalent to 24 days for a worker working five days a week); and

(b) 5.6 weeks on 1 October 2008 (equivalent to 28 days for a worker working five days a week).

The government has now amended the proposed regulations following the public consultation. They now propose:

1 To delay the introduction of the second increase from 4.8 to 5.6 weeks until 1 April 2009. The initial increase is still proposed to come into effect on 1 October 2007, as originally suggested.

2 As a transitional measure, to allow payment in lieu of the additional 0.8 week holiday entitlement between 1 October 2007 and 1 April 2009, to allow for the recruiting and training of additional staff to cover the increased holiday entitlement.

3 Employers that already meet the full requirements of the regulations as at 1 October 2007 (giving the equivalent of 28 days’ holiday, without payment in lieu and any carry-over for no more than one year) will be “taken outside of the regulations”, as long as they continue to meet those requirements.

The third change is stated to be “an incentive for early compliance with the regulations”. Significantly, it also appears to address the potential contractual problem identified under the original draft for employers who already provide a contractual right to “statutory holiday entitlement plus bank holidays”. Under the original draft many employers who already offered 28 days or more contractual holiday entitlement would have been faced with need to carry out mass variation of employment contracts. We await detail as to what “taken outside the regulations” means in full.

The other main provisions of the draft regulations remain unchanged. For further details, please see our April 2007 Employment Law Update.

The parliamentary process is now on-going, with the draft regulations expected to be approved by Parliament by the end of June. Unfortunately, the full text of the draft regulations is not yet available, we await the detail!