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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Dear Jenny

JENNY NUTTALL has been a qualified employment solicitor for five years and advises employers and employees on all aspects of employment issues. Please contact her for a free initial consultation at j.nuttall@livingstons .co.uk or 01229 585555.

S90362B
JENNY NUTTALL

Q I am a local employer and I would be grateful if you would confirm what the position is regarding Christmas holidays and annual leave.

Can I request that my employees retain enough annual leave from their normal entitlement to cover the break between Christmas and New Year?

A Yes you can if you wish. The statutory minimum annual leave is 5.6 weeks and this includes all bank holidays.
You can request that your employees hold enough holiday to cover the Christmas break, and even between Christmas and New year if you shut the business down.

If you do, it is best to have it written in your contracts. However, you can also give additional holiday over and above their normal entitlement if you wish.

This decision really is at your discretion so long as you use your discretion fairly for all employees.

Don’t forget that employees are not automatically entitled to have an actual bank holiday day off work, you can ask them to work on a bank holiday and take that day at another time.

Q At our last year’s Christmas party we went to a local hotel for a celebration. Two employees had rather a lot to drink and a heated discussion turned quite nasty.

They had a fight and damaged some of the hotel’s property as well as throwing food on the wall.

We paid the hotel for any damage to save any embarrassment to the company, but we did not take any action against the two employees because we assumed it was out of work time.

We are nervous in case a similar incident happens and might not even have a party this year. If it does what can we do, if anything?

A We are asked this a lot, basically if you are on a works function, whether on or off the business premises your employees are still in works time.

They are still bound by the terms and conditions of employment and treat it like a day at work.

Therefore if anything like this happens again you are able to invoke your disciplinary procedures.

In practical terms, you may wish to send a memo round to all staff to remind them that they are still bound by their terms and conditions at any works function and any misconduct will be dealt with according to your usual disciplinary procedures.

Hope it goes well and Merry Christmas!

  • If you have any employment questions please contact Jenny Nuttall on j.nuttall@livingstons.co.uk for a free initial consultation. Your question may be published in the next column, subject to confidentiality

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