After more than ten years’ working full-time for a company are you legally entitled to have longer holidays?
Q: After more than ten years’ working full-time for a company are you legally entitled to have longer holidays?
Answered by Sara Williams, Vitesse Media
The place to find the answer to your question is your statement of terms of employment, otherwise known as your contract of employment; this should set out your statutory and any extra-contractual annual holiday leave entitlement. If your employer hasn’t provided you with a long service bonus, the answer, in a nutshell is I’m afraid, ‘No’.
At present, the statutory requirement for annual leave (i.e. the legal minimum) is 5.6 working weeks which, if you work a five day week, is 28 days per year as set out in the Working Time Regulations 1998. This can be typically be comprised of 20 days annual leave and eight days for the Bank Holidays. It should also be noted that the statutory paid holiday entitlement is limited to 28 days. For example, staff working six days a week are only entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday.
There is no legal requirement to extend annual leave entitlements in line with length of service although some companies do operate a system by which they award long-serving employees with extra days’ annual leave. However, due to Age Discrimination Regulations loyalty bonuses such as extended leave will only be lawful where the employer can demonstrate a good business case for treating longer serving employees more favourably.
For example, where the job requires a long and expensive training period the company may be able to demonstrate that a long service award helps to keep the costs of the business down and that there isn’t a proportionate way of achieving the same result.
Sara Williams is the former CEO of AIM-listed Vitesse Media, the publishing company she started in 1997. A former investment analyst with Kleinwort Benson, Sara is the author of The FT Guide to Business Start-ups. She has written for several national newspapers and appears regularly in broadcasts on TV and radio.
This article was updated by Michael Somerville in August 2018.
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