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Changes to the Working Time Regulations

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Changes to the Working Time Regulations which will remove the qualifying period necessary to receive entitlement to paid annual leave were announced today by Employment Relations Minister Alan Johnson.

The amendments will give workers a right to paid annual leave from their first day of employment, and a corresponding right to compensation for any untaken leave on termination of employment.

The Regulations will also allow employers to introduce an accrual system to help manage the taking of leave over the first year of employment.

Announcing the changes, Alan Johnson said, “The Government has consulted widely on these amendments to the Working Time Regulations and are pleased to announce the changes which will bring them into line with the terms of the European Court of Justice judgement.

“The new regulations will allow employers to introduce a system for the taking of leave to accrue during the first year of employment, at the rate of one-twelfth of the annual entitlement per month worked, rounded to the nearest half-day. This will not affect payment of any untaken leave at the end of an employment contract. It remains the case that employers and workers will be able to agree on arrangements for taking leave, in line with the notice periods set by the Regulations.

“The Government will update existing guidance for employers and employees on the Working Time Regulations in the next few days to address the changes which have been made”

The move follows a judgement on the 26 June by the European Court of Justice, that the 13 week paid annual leave qualifying period is not consistent with the provisions of the Working Time Directive.

The majority of responses to the consultation of employee and employer groups were broadly in favour of the removal of the qualifying period.

The amending Regulations are due to come into force on the 25th October

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