February 19, 2018

How the Easter Calendar Affects Employers’ Compliance with the Statutory Holiday Provisions

Since 1752 the Gregorian calendar has been used to date Easter in the UK, but back then they didn’t have to worry about compliance with statutory holiday provisions.

This somewhat antiquated system places Easter somewhere between March 22nd and April 25th each year, meaning that businesses running an April-to-March holiday year can find themselves caught short in providing the minimum UK statutory holiday entitlement to staff.

The entitlement is currently 28 days (or 5.6 weeks) each year, including public/bank holidays.

Unfortunately, this could mean that those with an April-to-March leave year may potentially only be providing 5.4 weeks holiday (27 days) during 2017/18, which will not meet the statutory minimum requirement.

What this means in 2018

Good Friday will fall on the 30th March – which will be part of the 2017/18 holiday period – while Easter Monday will be on 1st April and therefore part of the 2018/2019 holiday year.

This means that Good Friday will fall twice in the 2017/18 leave year (it also fell on 14 April 2017).

However, both Good Friday and Easter Monday then fall in 2019, on Friday 19th and Monday 22nd April.

How can employers not meeting minimum statutory requirements resolve the situation?

Employers should consider these five points to rectify any concerns:

  1. Review the way this problem was handled in the 2015/16 leave year and use the same arrangement again
  2. Take into account that the problem only relates to employees who receive bank holidays as fixed annual leave. This problem does not arise where bank holidays are normal working days and holidays are fully flexible
  3. Where you provide more than the statutory minimum of 5.6 working weeks, or give extra service leave, you can count those extra days towards the statutory minimum of 5.6 working weeks a year
  4. If you only provide 5.6 working weeks holiday and bank holidays are fixed holidays for your staff, you will need a more creative solution
  5. Consider changing your leave year if you currently operate an April-to-March holiday year. You would need to consult with staff but there is no impact on an individual’s holiday entitlement, so you should not experience any problems

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About the author

Stephen Johnson

About the author

Stephen Johnson

Stephen has over 25 years experience in private sector HR and management roles, working as a Manager for over 10 years and eventually moving into the financial services industry. In his current role as an HR Policy Review Consultant he develops, reviews and maintains our clients’ employment documentation. With extensive knowledge of management initiatives and HR disciplines Stephen is commercially focused and supports clients in delivering their business objectives whilst minimising the risk of litigation.

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