An Easter Quirk.

By Andrew Knorpel, Partner and Head of the Employment team

We all know that every worker is entitled to 5.6 weeks’ holiday per year. This is usually expressed in contracts of employment as 20 days plus the eight public holidays in each holiday year for every full-time worker.

But is this right? What happens if my holiday year starts on 1 April and I’m only entitled to the minimum statutory holiday entitlement.

That means that the public holidays in 2017/18 fell on 14 April, 17 April, 1 May, 29 May, 28 August, 25 December, 26 December 2017, 1 January and 30 March 2018. That’s nine public holidays and I’ve had an extra day off.

Looking at 2018/19, the public holidays fall on 2 April, 7 May, 28 May, 27 August, 25 December, 26 December 2018 and 1 January 2019. That’s only seven public holidays as Good Friday falls on 19 April 2019 and you haven’t given me enough holiday.

You’re in breach of the Working Time Regulations 1998 for 2018/19 even though I had an extra day’s holiday in the previous holiday year.

As Easter moves between mid-March and mid-April, this issue could crop up on a reasonably regular basis. And I guess that my employer would choose to ignore it on an equally regular basis if I ever noticed this Easter quirk.

Of course, if my holiday entitlement had been expressed as being 28 days inclusive of public holidays (which is unusual other than for part-time staff whose holiday entitlement is pro-rated), then I would receive exactly the right amount of holiday every year.

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