01664 668164
Call us today!


Peter Etherington
Telephone number

Employment Update for Small Businesses
October 2019

Dear Subscriber

If the start to autumn is the time when you typically review business processes and take stock, then now is an ideal time to review your holiday arrangements for staff. This month we have some guidance relating to holidays and how to manage staff holiday entitlements most effectively to fit in with business requirements.
Please contact me if you would like to find out a bit more about any of the subjects raised in this update or if you need any help or advice.

Please forward this email to any of your contacts who might find it of benefit.

Peter Etherington
Tel: 01664 668164


Twitter Facebook LinkedIn
Peter Etherington
Do Staff Holiday Entitlements Cause you Problems?
Tips on managing holiday bookings in the workplace
Looking out the window today at the driving rain, it is clear that winter is no longer a distant threat – it’s on its way!  The summer holidays are over, so now is a very good time for employers to take stock of their staff’s holiday entitlements and to check that they have already booked the majority of it for the year (if the holiday year is January to December).

Christmas can often be a pinch point when it comes to holiday, as many employees may wish to book time off around the same time. For some employers, that is not too bad as it tends to become very quiet over Christmas. For others, particularly in the retail and hospitality sectors, it can be a real problem.

There are a number of ways that employers can effectively manage staff holidays, and here are a few suggestions:

  1. Check what holiday staff have left regularly during the year (e.g. quarterly), and prompt them to book holiday if they have not used much (you can force staff to take holiday if necessary by giving notice to them of at least double the length of the holiday you want them to take)
  2. Consider introducing holiday bans at particular times of the year to meet business requirements (e.g. banning holiday bookings in December for shop workers)
  3. Have a shutdown at periods when the business is quiet, and ensure staff are compelled to reserve some of their holiday entitlement to cover it (e.g. in some sectors, Christmas week is very quiet and closing for the 3 days between Christmas and New Year may be attractive)
  4. Review your holiday year – if it is currently January to December employees may be desperate to book holidays towards the back end of the year for fear they will otherwise use it; changing the holiday year (e.g. to March to February) may help avoid that problem.

Points 2 to 4, above, will require some planning and may amount to a change to the contract of employment, so I would suggest you contact us for support with those measures.

If you struggle to keep track of your staff’s holiday, and point 1 above is not straight-forward, then you may wish to consider trying breatheHR.  As a partner we can set you up on a free trial and help you manage the system.  The cost is as low as £10 per month for smaller employers, but our clients who use it have told us how useful they find it – particularly for managing holiday.  Contact us if you would like a demonstration of the system.

National Minimum and Living Wage Rate​s
The current National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates are:

  • £8.21 per hour for workers aged 25 and over
  • £7.70 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24
  • £6.15 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20
  • £4.35 per hour for workers aged 16 and 17
  • £3.90 per hour for apprentices under 19 and those over 19 in their first year*

*N.B. Apprentices over 19 and who have completed at least one year are entitled to the appropriate rate for their age.