Time off for getting married or moving house

Are employees entitled to time off when they get married or move house this summer? 

In the UK, the law does not provide employees with a statutory right to time off because they are moving house, getting married or going on honeymoon. It is in stark contrast to other EU countries. In Spain, for example, employees are entitled to 15 days of leave when they tie the knot and one day when they move house!

In most cases, employees will need to use their annual leave entitlement.  Full-time employees have the right to 5.6 weeks (28 days) of paid annual leave per year. Generally bank holidays are counted as part of the statutory 5.6 weeks. Those working part-time are entitled to the same amount of holiday as full-time employees, but their entitlement is calculated on a pro rata basis. Part-time leave is calculated by multiplying the number of days worked per week by 5.6. For example, if an employee works three days a week, they will be entitled to 16.8 days of annual paid leave.

If an employee wants to exceed their annual leave entitlement, for example to take a long honeymoon trip, they will often have to take additional unpaid leave.

Some employers are more generous and do allow certain provisions in employees’ Contract of Employment or the Employee Handbook for these types of events. This time off may be paid or unpaid.

Of course, you can expect some grumbling if you do not allow an employee time off for certain social one-off occasions, especially if they have given you plenty of notice. It is beneficial to only reject leave for business reasons and to encourage your team to collaborate with each other to coordinate time off. This ensures operational business requirements are met and issues are quickly resolved.

If you do not have an annual leave policy in place or wish to discuss employees’ rights to time off, contact our Employment Law Advisers for advice.

Director of Legal Services

James Tamm

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