Holidays: Your rights and options

Holidays: Your rights and options

There is a worrying trend in the world of recruitment to present statutory rights and / or standard practice as some sort of act of generosity. Proclamations of flexible working and holiday time often only show that the company is compliant rather than revolutionary. This is our guide to seeing through the hype regarding holiday entitlement.

What’s normal?

Almost everyone, including agency and zero-hours workers, is entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday leave per year. For full time workers this equates to 28 days and for part time workers this is calculated on the amount of days worked. For example if you work a 4 day week you will be entitled to 22.4 days holiday (4 x 5.6). The UK Government has a calculator to work out holiday entitlement for people who work irregular hours. Many companies offer an annual increase in holiday time or milestone increases for example after 5 years service the employee may be rewarded with an additional weeks entitlement. Therefore, although the minimum holiday is 28 days the UK average is actually 33.5 days.

Unlimited holidays

If you’re looking for a job that offers exceptional holiday benefits then you may want to check out these companies that give employees unlimited holiday, yes unlimited! Some, generally Silicon Valley-type tech firms, including Netflix are doing just that. By combatting presenteeism with a more task-based approach they allow unlimited holiday on the proviso that they achieved all that was required.

A matter of compromise

Clearly if you are a security guard, a nurse or a call-handler unlimited holiday isn’t an option but there are other considerations you may need to make when taking on a new job. When you take your annual leave, and for how long (for one holiday) is at your employer’s discretion. For example if you want to take a five-week holiday over the summer, understandably there may be issues. It’s a matter of compromise but if you do have specific needs, for example childcare or caring for family abroad, it’s worth discussing early on. The worst thing for employers is to have half the workforce demand holiday with the minimum notice.

Negotiate your holiday

Holiday is always up for negotiation, and if it’s not you have a pretty old fashioned boss! Some people hardly use their entitlement and some people need every second. There may be other perks that you don’t want or need. Do you need a company car or the travel allowance? Think about the perks that cost the company money for you as an individual. For example to say that you won’t use the onsite company gym is not a good bargaining chip, whereas saying that you won’t require the membership offered for the gym next door, will save the company money. Is that worth an extra day or two?

If holidays are important to you it’s worth looking around for a company that really understands your needs. Remember to ask, to compromise and to negotiate to keep everyone happy.

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