ACAS Publishes Festive Advice as Christmas Edges Closer
To help businesses run smoothly over Christmas and New Year, ACAS has published advice for businesses operating over the new couple of weeks.
Christmas Bank Holidays
This year, Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, Boxing Day falls on a Monday, which means the two Bank Holiday for these day will be 26th and 27th December. There is no right to have either day away from work or taken as paid time off unless terms of the employment contract allows otherwise. Paid public holidays can be counted as part of statutory annual leave.
Businesses should also note that there is no legal right to paid leave for public holidays. Any right to paid time off for these holidays depends on the terms of a worker's contract. Paid public holidays can be counted as part of the statutory 5.6 weeks of holiday.
Sickness Absence Over Christmas and New Year
Each business will have its own sickness policy, but ACAS reiterate that it should continue to be followed and monitored as December comes to a close. Any unauthorised absence or patterns in absence, for example high levels of sickness or late attendance, could result in formal proceedings.
They state that where an employee is sick or absent from work the day after a work Christmas party, normal sickness policies and procedures would apply.
Annual Leave Between Christmas and New Year
By now, all or most of your employee’s annual leave for Christmas will be booked, however ACAS reiterate that some businesses may need to restrict annual leave over the Christmas period. This must be stated in the contract of employment, implied from custom or practice, or incorporated into individual contracts from a collective agreement.
This can take many forms, but some of the most common are:
- shutting down for certain periods while workers have to use their annual leave entitlement
- nominating particular dates as days of closure when workers are expected to take annual leave
- determining the maximum amounts of leave that can be taken on any one occasion and also the periods when leave may be taken
- determining the number of workers who can be off at any one time
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