FRIDAY HR FAQS – Can an employee take annual leave whilst on long term sick leave?

Understandably an employee who is on long term sick leave and taking their annual holiday might make some employers raise their eyebrows, after all if they are well enough to take annual leave, why can’t they return to work?

Not quite, employees on long term sick leave are entitled to take annual leave and there are a multitude of reasons why an employee might be on long term sick leave from work and this does not impact their ability to use their accrued annual leave.

Some key points to consider:

  • Employees on sick leave continue to accrue holiday in line with the Working Time Directive.
  • If company policy is that holiday cannot be carried over into the following year, it is not lawful to enforce this onto employees on long term absence, they must be entitled to carry it over.
  • Even though employees are entitled to take annual leave, as an employer you are not able to force employees to take it whilst on sick leave nor are you able to tell them that if they don’t use it they will lose it on their return.

As an employer you have a duty of care to your employees so it is important to consider their rights in this situation.  Think about the reasons why they may be taking their annual leave, rather than presuming this is indicative of them being well enough to return to work.

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One key reason that employees might want to use some of their accrued leave during their absence is financial necessity. Whilst some employers are able to offer benefits to their employees such as Income Protection or Critical Illness, a large majority, particularly small to medium sized business, are not able to. For this reason and depending on the employer and the length of the absence, they may no longer be on company discretionary sick pay, but on statutory sick pay and beyond the 28 weeks of statutory sick pay, be living on no pay at all. Taking annual leave, which is paid at their usual salary rate, can be a financial necessity at a difficult time.

Other reasons for employees taking leave might be to reduce the amount they have in preparation of a return to work, or they may need to take annual leave for their own well being. Taking annual leave doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going abroad or taking a wild holiday!

As an employer, it can be beneficial for the employee to take some of their accruing annual leave whilst on long term sickness:

  • It can help improve the well being of the employee – financially and psychologically.
  • Allowing leave to be taken during extended periods of absence, will reduce the amount that they will be entitled to when they return to work, which would then therefore reduce them needing to take more time out of the business for holiday.
  • If the employee decided to leave the company, any accrued leave not taken would need to be paid out and depending on the length of the absence, this could be a substantial sum of monies to be paid at one time.
  • Remember, there is no real reason for refusing annual leave and doing so could potentially put an employer under breach of contract (for lack of trust and confidence), as they have no valid reason for declining leave, as they can not claim operational reasons.

Whilst we acknowledge that employers generally want to encourage employees to return to work, they should also support them to improve their well being.

One way to ensure clarity for all parties, is to have comprehensive annual leave and sickness policies, which need to be reviewed regularly to ensure legal compliance.

If you would like further HR advice on handling long term absence get in touch with HR Revolution:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

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Why don’t employees take their annual leave?

Annual leave is a benefit all employees receive. In the UK, the typical allocation is around 28 days, during which we’re encouraged to leave our work and focus on relaxing and rejuvenating.

However a number of surveys have highlighted the fact that us Brits are terrible at taking time out. A survey carried out by Glassdoor found that 40% of employees in the UK only used a maximum of half their annual leave over the past holiday year. While 23% of us can’t help but check work emails while away, and a stressed out 15% even did some work to avoid falling behind before their return to the office!

So it is always in a company’s best interest to make sure their employees have a healthy work-life balance, below we list a few benefits of taking annual leave including:

  • Health
  • Stress relief
  • Productivity
  • Trust

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Health benefits

Taking time away from business gives our bodies and minds the chance to realign. It’s our opportunity to relax, away from the pressures of our day job, and to focus on other areas of our lives that also make us happy, such as friends and family.

Much like sleep helps our bodies rejuvenate, annual leave is an important part of our year and one of the very few chances we get to truly forget about work.

This in turn relieves stress. We delegate tasks to our colleagues while we’re away, which means the period prior to annual leave is usually one in which we complete tasks and re-prioritised. This helps us to focus and clear our minds, bringing our levels of stress down.

Productivity

When we work constantly, our bodies are prone to burn out, this is where we’ve worked hard for so long, we simply can’t do it anymore.

Time out of the office gives you a chance to relieve that stress and think about things in a more positive manner, with clarity to help you work more productively and effectively.

Encouraging your employees to use their annual leave can also reduce the number of sick days taken each year, which has a tangible impact on your bottom line.

Building trust

It’s important we show our colleagues that we trust them with our work, and that we can rely on them to do a great job in our absence. Taking annual leave, especially if you’re more senior in a business, tells your colleagues that you do trust them and gives them the chance to develop professionally too.

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Top tips for annual leave

Follow these tips to make the most of your annual leave time:

  1. Set an out of office response that gives people an alternative contact during your absence
  2. Turn off your email notifications and work phone so you can relax and forget about your day job
  3. Delegate work in advance so your colleagues have chance to ask questions of you before you leave

Time for a break?

Many companies are implementing initiatives to make working life more flexible. But despite that, we’re still failing to even take our full annual leave allocation.

It’s an important part of a companies culture to lead the way in ensuring employees take the holiday they deserve and reinforce that the business won’t fall apart just because employees have been away for a few weeks!

So if your company, or indeed you, are less about sun, sea and sangria and more about spreadsheets, skills and stress maybe it’s time to rethink – after all, even sunburn has to be preferable to burn out!

If you need any advice, please get in touch with us to find out more:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

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How to calculate part-time holiday entitlement

Currently in the UK there are more than eight and a half million people working part-time, so if you are an employer who has part-time employees you need to make sure that they benefit from bank holiday leave, even if they don’t work on bank holidays.

So read on for some advice on how to ensure you don’t disadvantage your part-time workers and keep on top of your legal requirements.

For all employees, the minimum statutory holiday entitlement by law is 5.6 weeks, bank holidays included, which companies are not obliged to give as paid leave, however most companies choose to include them as part of the annual leave entitlement.

For part-time employees, the same applies, minimum statutory leave is 5.6 weeks, but how do you work in the bank holidays? and what if any employees don’t work Mondays or Fridays when bank holidays normally fall?

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Most of the UK’s bank holidays do fall on a Monday or Friday so in companies that give paid bank holidays, and where part-time employees don’t usually work on these days, those part-time employees would end up receiving proportionately fewer days’ leave than their full-time colleagues.

To prevent this inequality, many companies give their part-time employees a pro-rated bank holiday allowance. This is calculated based on the number of hours worked, regardless of the days that are worked and irrespective of whether or not they would be bank holidays.

Let’s take an example of a company where the full-time employees get eight bank holidays, there are usually 8 bank holidays per year in England and Wales, as paid leave on top of their normal allowance. They work five days a week for a total of 40 hours, so are effectively receiving 64 hours of bank holiday leave (8 days x 8 hours = 64 hours).

To pro-rata this for a part-time employee working two days a week, the company would give 25.6 hours of bank holiday leave. That’s calculated as: 16 hours worked per week/40 hours maximum working time per week x 64 hours of bank holiday leave.

This bank holiday entitlement for part-time workers calculator breaks it down step by step for you into a formula:

(number of hours worked per week/number of hours in a full-time week) x (number of bank holidays x hours per working day).

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This does cause minor issues in that you may end up with part-time employees working parts of days. In the example above, the 25.6 hours would be rounded up to 26 hours, which for an eight hour day is three and a quarter days. Taking a quarter-day holiday – or two hours in this case – is sometimes difficult for a company to administer.

If the part-time worker is due to work on a bank holiday, then they would need to book it as holiday as normal and it would come out of their total holiday entitlement.

You don’t need to follow this method to calculate bank holiday for your part-time workers,  there are other options such as calculating in days etc but you must ensure they are consistent and fair and that both their part-time and full-time workers are treated equally.

If calculating annual leave is something you struggle with, you are not alone and we can help! HR Revolution have the perfect solution for you in the form of breatheHR, easy to use HR software, which has a holiday allowance calculator perfect for working out part-time employee allowances.

It is always prudent to get HR advice when calculating holiday, so if you have any questions, please get in touch with us to find out more:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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How to really switch off from work when you go on holiday…

Holiday season is well and truly underway, time to take off from work to relax and recuperate, however, for many, booking annual leave can cause stress and anxiety.  However, holidays are vitally important as they help us to stay balanced, healthy and stop us drowning in work related stress.

I think it’s fair to say that most of us will spend some point of our holidays worrying about work, checking emails and picking up bits of work when we should be relaxing, pretty pointless really.

Fear not we have some solutions, so read on to find out some helpful hints on how to switch off from work and come back refreshed and revitalised, you’ll then be ready to cope with whatever work has to throw at you!!!

Try not to leave anything half done it’ll only make you stress while you’re away, finish off any loose ends and leave a handover document if you’re not able to get everything done.

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Tell people that you won’t be checking emails then set up an out of office email, how long you’ll be away, and who people should contact if they need anything urgently.

Get some perspective, you are not indispensable while you are away, other colleagues will cover for you, in much the same way you would cover for them this does not mean they will get your job!  If they were better than you, they would already have it and going away for 1 or 2 weeks is not going to change this…

Switch off your work phone, I know it’s tempting, but don’t message your work wife for all the office drama that you may/may not be missing while you’re away. Technology is such a massive part of our lives today, that we are constantly distracted, you don’t need to know any work goings on, wait until you get back!

Do nothing, give yourelf permission to completely switch off, a recent study published in the Psychological Science journal suggests that sitting back doing nothing can boost your skills, productivity and commitment, allowing you to re-focus and reduce stress…

I for one will be practicing the above when I go on my annual holiday in a few weeks time, I’m going to switch off, kick back and enjoy my holiday guilt free!!!

If you need and HR advice or guidance give HR Revolution a call and see how we could help: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR Blogger

 

Have you taken your annual leave?

Annual leave is a benefit all employees receive. In the UK, the typical allocation is around 28 days, during which we’re encouraged to leave our work and focus on relaxing and rejuvenating.

However, we seem to be forgetting to take annual leave!! Reports suggest that only 1 in 3 of us actually takes our full annual leave allocation each year. Here, we’ll explore the benefits of annual leave and why it’s important to take yours.

The benefits of annual leave

There are many benefits to taking annual leave. These include:

  • Health
  • Stress relief
  • Productivity
  • Trust

Health benefits

Taking time away from the business gives our bodies and minds the chance to realign. It’s our opportunity to relax, away from the pressures of our day job, and to focus on other areas of our lives that also make us happy, such as friends and family.

Much like sleep helps our bodies rejuvenate, annual leave is an important part of our year and one of very few chances we get to truly forget about work.

This in turn relieves stress. We delegate tasks to our colleagues while we’re away, which means the period prior to annual leave is usually one in which we complete tasks and re-prioritise. This helps us to focus and clear our minds, bringing our levels of stress down.

Productivity

When we work constantly, our bodies are prone to burn out. This is where we’ve worked hard for so long, we simply can’t do it anymore.

Time out of the office gives you chance to relieve that stress and think about things in a more positive manner, with clarity to help you work more productively and effectively.

Encouraging your employees to use their annual leave can also reduce the number of sick days taken each year, which has a tangible impact on your bottom line.

Building trust

It’s important we show our colleagues that we trust them with our work, and that we can rely on them to do a great job in our absence. Taking annual leave, especially if you’re more senior in a business, tells your colleagues that you do trust them and gives them the chance to develop professionally too.

Top tips for annual leave

Follow these tips to make the most of your annual leave time:

  1. Set an out of office response that gives people an alternative contact during your absence
  2. Turn off your email notifications and work phone so you can relax and forget about your day job
  3. Delegate work in advance so your colleagues have chance to ask questions of you before you leave

Time for a break?

Many companies are implementing initiatives to make working life more flexible. But despite that, we’re still failing to even take our full annual leave allocation.

It’s important that we lead the way in ensuring we take the holiday we deserve and that we make the most of that time. It is good to remember that the business won’t fall apart just because you’ve been away for a few days!  Happy holidays…

HR Revolution is a gold partner of breatheHR, a cloud-based HR employee software that is a straightforward and intuitive system that you and your team will love. You will be able to see your employees holiday allocations easily, so you can see who needs a little nudge to take a day off!

If you would like to discuss any HR issues, please give HR Revolution a call we’d love to help, call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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