Do staff holidays add up?

While we all look forward to our holidays, calculating holiday entitlement for staff can be difficult and confusing, especially if you have part-time workers.

In April 2009 the holiday entitlement for a full-time employee increased to 28 days or 5.6 weeks paid leave per year. There is no statutory entitlement to paid leave for public holidays. Any right to paid time off for such holidays depends on the terms of the employment contract. If your nursery is closed on a public holiday, then you can include the public holidays as part of the statutory 28 days or 5.6 weeks holiday entitlement.

The holiday entitlement due to employees depends on the number of days that they work. This is where the confusion arises. Holiday entitlements for a full-time employee are based on the number of days a week they work, not the hours that they work.

For example, if an employee works five days a week and seven hours a day, they are entitled to 28 days holiday. If an employee works five days a week and two hours a day, they are also entitled to 28 days holiday. They will only be paid for the hours they would have normally worked.

5 days a week 28 days
4 days a week 22.4 days
3 days a week 16.8 days
2 days a week 11.2 days
1 day a week 5.6 days

If you have included the bank holidays in the calculation, then more confusion arises. Let me explain.

At the beginning of the holiday year you will need to look at which days the bank holidays fall on. Most are Mondays. You will then need to look at all employees who work four days or less, and if a bank holiday falls on a day they normally work, you must deduct that from their holiday entitlement. Once you have deducted all of these, you will then be left with the days they can then take as holiday for the rest of the year.

Part-days cannot be rounded down, they can only be rounded up. Or you may want to consider letting the employee come in late one day, or finish early.

If you currently give employees who work less than five days a week all eight bank holidays, then you are giving them too much holiday, which means an additional cost to the nursery. It also means they have more holiday than employees who work five days a week. Interestingly, if an employee works more than five days, the holiday entitlement does not increase.

You have to ask yourself – can your nursery really afford that additional cost?

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Flexible Parental Leave from 2015

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced this week that a new flexible parental leave system will be implemented from 2015

  • Mothers will still be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave, but having taken the first two weeks after the birth of their child, the rest can be shared with the partner taking some, or both parents taking some together
  • The only rule is that no more than 12 months can be taken in total; with no more than 9 months at guaranteed pay

Currently, fathers can take 2 weeks of paternity leave around the time a baby is born and can then take a further 26 weeks (additional paternity leave) – but only when the baby is 20 weeks old and even then, only if the mother has returned to work. The new plans are aimed at supporting more women to get back into the workplace whilst giving partners the option to care for their child.

You can watch the video announcement from Nick Clegg here

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Secrets to surviving the office party


It’s crept up on us again, that time of the year of the work xmas party. Lots of us may be cutting back & not throwing wild & extravagant bashes for our employees, but almost every company will be having some sort of holiday get-together. We’ve put together a list of 8 top tips to get you through yours…

We’re not trying to be a party pooper… this is the night your supposed to let your hair down, have fun with your co-workers & employees, but you’ve got to strike that balance. Have too much fun & you might find yourself in a spot of bother!

You’ll want to encourage all your staff to attend the Christmas party, but don’t make it a written rule that everyone has to. Remember Christmas is a Christian holiday & some members of staff may not want to come along due to religious beliefs. If this is the case in your nursery, why not scrap the ‘xmas’ theme & just make it a staff night out? Remember that if your get-together is out of working hours, some people may not be able to come due to family responsibilities.

If your party involves staff bringing along a ‘secret santa’ gift, you might want to ask that all gifts be non-offensive. We’ve all been at that party where ‘Annie the Office Accountant’ gets a saucy little number from Ann Summers, & while we’re sure Annie would see the funny side, some inappropriate gifts have sparked complaints in the past & could be seen as harassment.

If you’re inviting employees’ partners to the event, the invitation should include partners of the opposite and same sex, as well as husbands and wives, to avoid potential sexual orientation discrimination claims. You should also extend the invitation to any employees on family related leave (i.e. maternity or paternity leave), or those absent through illness or injury.

Avoid what’s known as ‘tipple tattle’. Don’t discuss promotion, career prospects or salary with employees or talk about any issues, which would be more suited to a formal appraisal or private meeting.

Be careful if you provide free drink or put a credit card behind a bar. Most tribunal claims after work parties are as a result of excessive drinking & inappropriate behaviour, more commonly with employees claiming sexual harassment or acts of violence. Try & limit the amount of alcohol that’s provided & encourage your staff to act responsibly, keep an eye out for the younger employees and don’t allow under-18s to drink.

Your employment policies on bullying, harassment & discrimination still apply at the Xmas party. Make sure everyone knows this, what the policies are & what is expected of them. An innocent comment or advance under the mistletoe between co-workers could end up costing you as the employer, if a tribunal were to characterize the behaviour as victimization or harassment.

If employees are at a party drinking alcohol provided by you, then you are responsible for them & their actions. If a member of staff has clearly drunk too much & is planning on driving home then you, as their employer needs to take responsibility. Consider organizing a mini-bus to get employees home safely or provide numbers for local taxi firms.

Disciplinary issues can often arise when employees fail to show up for work the morning after a party, more often for alcohol related reasons. On occasions such as this, your normal disciplinary rules for unauthorized absence should be applied. Employees should be warned of the consequences of pulling a sickie the day after. Make sure you provide plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and food at the party to minimize this risk.

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Vetting & Barring changes – 3 things employers will NEED to know

From 10 September 2012, a number of amendments to the vetting and barring scheme came into force. For those who don’t about Vetting & Barring, to sum up, it is a law which is designed to protect vulnerable individuals. If you are an employer it is essential you know about these changes.

3 things you need to know:

  1. There is no longer a duty to refer information to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) in relation to individuals carrying out “controlled activities”, ie roles that are not regulated activities but that allow holders the opportunity to have contact with vulnerable groups or to have access to certain records relating to vulnerable groups.
  2. The definition of a “regulated activity” in relation to children is narrowed and covers fewer job roles.
  3. The Act amends the definition of a vulnerable adult as well as what constitutes “regulated activity” in relation to them.

For more information about the changes, you can download a pdf from the home office website here

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National Minimum Wage Increase

From October 1st 2012 the National Minimum Wage increases as follows:

For workers aged 21 and over, £6.19;

For workers aged between 18 and 20, £4.98 (this is unchanged);

For workers aged above the compulsory school age and under 18, £3.68; and
For apprentices, £2.65.

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