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Legal requirements for PTO and Leave in UK

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The employment landscape is constantly changing with new needs, expectations, trends and regulations marking their arrival. More than ever, HR managers are concerned about the essential benefits which employees require from an organization. As a matter of fact, innovative and lucrative employee benefits could help an enterprise mark its presence in high-demand marketplaces. At the same time, employee benefits are also helpful for drawing in talented human resources to the organization this article will give you a brief about PTO in UK.

One of the most significant employees benefits obviously points out towards leave. Leave has its own share of importance in helping an organization maintain a work-life balance for employees. On the other hand, it is important to note how legal precedents are transforming the design of leave policies across various organizations. The following discussion helps you dive into the details of legal implications relates to PTO and leave in the UK.

Why are Leaves Important?

According to a study conducted by the job website, Glassdoor, 7% of workers do not get their complete minimum paid leave entitlement. In addition, an average employee in the UK takes only 62% of their total holiday allowance. This is one of prominent reasons for which 79% of British workers have to experience work-related stress. Furthermore, almost 76% of employees experience burnout due to various factors such as personal circumstances, workloads or the work environment.

Without the lack of motivation and freedom to take a day off, employees could lose the zeal to work, thereby affecting productivity. So, letting employees cool off the steam by offering them paid and unpaid leaves might be a promising initiative. On the other hand, it is important to understand the important precedents you must follow in offering leave to your employees.

Understanding PTO

PTO is basically the acronym for Paid Time Off, which is also referred to as the annual leave or statutory leave. PTO indicates the number of days, weeks or months an employee could take time off from work while receiving compensation from their company. The PTO of an employee starts to grow when they begin working with a company having a clearly defined PTO policy. Generally, the employer has the final discretion on when employees could take their paid leaves. Subsequently, the employee receives their standard wage according to the company’s PTO policy.

Entitlements in PTO for Employees in the UK

If you are planning on developing a leave tracker for your organization, you need to understand the PTO entitlements in UK. You should know the number of days that workers could take a leave. Majority of workers involved with five-day workweek routines could legally receive an entitlement to 28 days of paid holiday annually.

Part-time workers, as well as employees working irregular hours like term-time workers or shift workers, are also legally eligible for PTO according to the hours they put in work. In order to calculate the time off allotted to a part-time worker, you could just multiply the number of days they work in a week by 5.6. For instance, if a part-time employee works three days a week, they can legally take 16.6 days of PTO.

Types of PTO Permitted in the UK

The PTO tracker solution for an organization should also include the different types of PTO in the UK in its scope. The PTO policy of an organization in the UK should include various types of paid leave along with relevant guidelines. A detailed understanding of different types of PTO allowed in the UK could help in defining the specifications of a prolific vacation tracker solution. Here are some of the notable cases in which you are entitled to PTO or paid leaves.

Paid Sick Leave

Employees are humans and are bound to fall prey to sickness at some or other point in time. Paid sick leave or statutory sick pay provides coverage for employees who fall ill for a minimum of four consecutive days, along with non-working days. Employers could start paying the statutory sick pay from the fourth day till the employee’s return to work. According to UK regulations, employees put on paid sick leave are entitled to pay £94.25 for the period of 28 weeks. Employees receive statutory sick pay on regular payday along with deduction of National Insurance and Taxes.

Paid Annual Leave

The most basic type of PTO which you must have in PTO tracking software is the paid annual leave. It is the most basic leave entitlement for a worker, and employees in the UK get paid annual leave of 28 days. Apart from the 5.6 weeks worth of paid vacation, bank holidays could also be a part of statutory leave according to the employer’s discretion.

Maternity Leave

Another prominent entry that you can find in different types of PTO in the UK is maternity leave. It basically includes the time that a parent takes off from work before and after giving birth. The laws in UK dictate that maternity leave could be allowed for a maximum of 52 weeks. On the other hand, if the employer has defined any specific considerations in their leave policy, the maternity leave could extend further.

The first 26 weeks come under the scope of ‘Ordinary Maternity Leave’. The next 26 weeks would be classified under the ‘Additional Maternity Leave’ category. Maternity leave applicants could take the leave 11 weeks before the due date at the earliest. After birth, employees must take a leave of two weeks and four weeks in the case of factory workers.

When you are designing an employee leave tracker app, you must also know about the payment for maternity leave. In the first six weeks of maternity leave, employees are generally eligible for receiving 90% of their average weekly income. In the case of remaining 33 weeks of maternity leave, employees are entitled to either 90% of their average weekly income or £151.20, with the lower one getting first preference.

It is also important to note that maternity leave benefits are different according to the type of employment. Employers should note that all employees are not eligible for statutory maternity leave pay.

Paternity Leave

As an employer, you would also have to deal with the aspect of paternity leave while designing an employee time off tracker. Paternity leave is generally applicable for employees given that their partner has given birth or they have adopted a child. According to UK laws, partners who are eligible for paternity leave can receive two weeks of statutory paternity leave pay.

Eligible employees can prefer to take the two weeks holiday at a time or differently. However, employees could not start their paternity leave before the date of the child’s birth. Most important of all, employees should finish their paternity leave within 56 days of the date of their child’s birth. Employees eligible for paternity leave are entitled to statutory paternity leave pay. The statutory paternity leave pay can be £148.68 for every week or 90% of their average weekly income, with first preference for the lower amount.

Compassionate Leave

Employers are also entitled to the privilege of allotting compassionate leave to employees. However, employers do not have any legal obligations for offering paid or unpaid compassionate leave. You can include compassionate leave or bereavement leave in a day off app for supporting employees in dire circumstances. Employees are eligible for compassionate leave when their relative or dependent fall ill or face an accident or in the case of death of a loved one.

Employees in the UK could receive a certain period of compassionate leave due to certain reasons. For example, compassionate leave is applicable if employees face illness, assault or injury or their child is involved in an accident at school. Compassionate leave is also applicable for employees in the UK who face discrepancies in care arrangements.

Unpaid Leave

Once employers have dealt with the problem of defining PTO in their leave policy, they have to deal with unpaid leaves. The design of an effective time off app for an organization should also include necessary elements for including unpaid leaves. Unpaid leaves are an effective method for employers to offer leaves to dedicated and reliable staff members beyond the paid leave limit. Unpaid leaves give the opportunity for employees to take leaves in the case of unprecedented situations. At the same time, employers could also use them as instruments for showing their goodwill for employees in critical scenarios.

Types of Unpaid Leave

Just like the different types of paid leave, it is also important to note the types of unpaid leave. According to UK law, there are two specific exceptions in the case of unpaid leave. Other than the three exceptions, there is no specific obligation for employers regarding the number of days they can allow as unpaid leave for employees. So, it is important to specify the rules and specifications regarding unpaid leave in employee handbooks or contracts.

HR management should also find out the ways for deducting unpaid leave from the salary of employees. Employees are safe from unauthorized deductions in their wages and pay by employers. However, employers can specify the details of conditions in which unpaid leave is applicable for employees. At the same time, the employment contract should also include details of deduction such as time and amount for unpaid leave.

Another important aspect specified in UK law for unpaid leave refers to the two exceptions. The first exception is applicable in situations where employees have to serve on magistrate or jury duty. The second exception is evident in situations where employees have to look after their children.

Unpaid Leaves and Jury Service

Jury service is also another important aspect that you have to take into account while designing a free vacation tracker. Employees are not mandatorily obliged to take leave for jury service. As a matter of fact, employers have the obligation for allowing employees to work in the role of a voluntary magistrate or attend jury service.

Alarmingly, employers who deny this right to employees can face contempt-of-court charges. Worse of all, the penalty in such cases could include two years in jail or a hefty fine. While employees could not miss jury services, employers do not have any obligation for paying staff during the concerned period.

Law for Unpaid Leaves for Parents

UK laws for leave are quite lenient and rewarding for parents. Parents could become eligible for unpaid parental leave in different cases. Parents could claim unpaid leave almost 18 weeks before their child, or adopted child reaches the age of 18. The limit for unpaid parental leaves in a free time off tracker must be 4 weeks for every child annually. Employees could take unpaid parental leaves in the multiple of one or two weeks rather than on individual days. It is also important to note that unpaid parental leave is applicable in the case of every offspring rather than for an individual’s job.

Most important of all, it is difficult to delay unpaid parental leave due to various reasons. For example, the absence of a staff member would affect the business negatively. Another possible reason to avoid any delays in unpaid parental leave is if the father or partner of the employee has taken it immediately after the birth or adoption. Unpaid parental leave cannot be extended in cases where the staff member does not qualify for leave, as the extension will go beyond the 18th birthday of the child.

The government specifies that employees must provide their explanation in writing when deferring unpaid parental leave. Employees must submit the explanation within seven days of submitting the original request. In addition, employees should also provide a new start date. The new start date should be within six months duration of the requested start date. It is impossible to change the duration of unpaid parental leave requested by the employee.

The Comprehensive Solution

HR managers have to navigate all these complexities in the legal aspects pertaining to PTO and leave in the UK. However, new and innovative tech solutions such as leave tracking apps could help in effective leave management. The development of such tools is a new chapter in streamlining human resources management. Find out more about compliance with legal implications pertaining to leave and PTO in your HR policy.