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Holiday entitlement to start as soon as employment begins

15 August 2001

The European Court of Justice has ruled that the UK\'s qualifying time of 13 weeks\' continuous employment before holiday entitlement is due is illegal. They say the entitlement begins as soon as employment begins.

This does not mean a new recruit is entitled to four weeks\' holiday at the start of their employment, but it does mean they are entitled to holiday pay if they leave within the first 13 weeks of their employment.

Alan Johnson, the Employment Relations Minister, says the Government will be proposing an accrual system in the first year of employment so that one twelfth of the annual leave entitlement is accrued for each month\'s work, rounded up to the nearest full day.

The minimum annual paid leave entitlement introduced by the Working Time Regulations in October 1998 is four weeks in a full year. Until now, that has only applied after 13 weeks of continual employment.

The new accrual system would mean that someone employed for a month and entitled to the minimum four weeks\' leave would be entitled to two days holiday after one month or the equivalent pay if they left after a month.

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