Employers who count the eight public and bank holidays as part of their workers’ holiday entitlement will have to give them extra time off from 1 October, law firm DWF has warned.
According to the new Working Time (Amendment) Regulations, statutory holidays will increase to a minimum of 5.6 weeks, including the eight bank and public holidays, equivalent to 28 days a year for full-time workers.
Currently, workers are entitled to a minimum of 20 days, but this can include bank holidays.
DWF said that the biggest problem in holiday entitlement amendments may be clauses stating that employees are entitled to "statutory and bank or public holidays", as this may lead to workers claiming they are entitled to 36 days. Companies in this position should consult an employment lawyer, it said.
The increase will take effect in two stages: four days a year for full-timers once the regulations come into force next month and four more days from 1 April 2009.
"With the extra costs bakers are facing these days, including the rising price of flour, butter, energy, and so on, this extra entitlement will hit many employers hard in the industry," said Gill Brooks-Lonican, chief executive of the National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB). "Bakers are already having to contend with the effects of the minimum wage increase that comes into force on 1 October."
The wage for workers aged 22 and over will go up to £5.52 an hour, a rise of 17p. For workers aged 18 to 21, it goes up to £4.60 an hour, a rise of 15p, and for 16 and 17-year-olds, it will go up to £3.40 an hour, a rise of 10p.