POA Circulars

78 | 18.06.2010

Annual Leave

It has been drawn to the Executives attention that Governors are trying to introduce local systems to facilitate the booking and taking of annual leave.

On 16th June, the NEC discussed this growing problem and agreed to promulgate this Circular to advise members of this issue and seek further information from them.

While the staff handbook provides that employees of the Prison Service may not insist on taking annual leave at a particular time during the leave year, leave requests should be reasonably and fairly considered in order to ensure employees are able to take their leave in the leave year.  If an employee is refused permission they must be given sufficient notice which is at least as long as the leave requested.  While employee’s of the Prison Service may carry over 9 days from one leave year to the next, if they so wish, annual leave is there to support health and safety by providing paid time off for rest and recuperation.

The Working Time Regulations 1998 provide workers with a statutory guaranteed right to paid holiday.  All workers are entitled under the Regulations to a minimum of 5.6 weeks (including public and bank holidays) holiday in each leave year.  If a Governor denies an employee their statutory entitlement to this leave or imposes a detriment for asserting it, the employee has the right to complain to an Employment Tribunal. 

Employees of the Prison Service have their statutory leave entitlement supplemented by contractual annual leave.

It is the Governor’s responsibility to put in place systems that will facilitate and allow all employees the opportunity to take their annual leave. While the Working Time Regulations do not define “leave”, guidance on the Regulations suggests that leave is a period that is not working time and is neither a rest break or rest period.    Therefore Governors should put in place systems that allow meaningful time off.   Giving an employee leave for the afternoon of an A shift, but expecting them to work the morning and evening duty element, is not a day’s leave. 

At Annual Conference, the provision of non effectives was fully debated and it is widely accepted that the 14.6% allowance is no longer fit for purpose.

Governors also have a duty to accommodate other paid leave, for example paternity, maternity and special leave.  This leave should not count towards the compliment of annual leave or be used to offset the allowance and number of staff allowed on leave under the agreed formula of 14.6% of Target Staffing Figures (TSF).

All employees should anticipate their annual leave as far in advance as possible and this should be booked and agreed by their line manager.  Annual leave should not be cancelled once approved save, for exceptional circumstances as outlined in Para. 17 of Bulletin 8.

If any branch is experiencing difficulties with Governors on agreeing a process to facilitate the taking of annual leave they should raise a local dispute, advise their NEC member and enter into urgent discussions with the Governor to seek local resolve.  The individual member concerned may also seek legal advice.

Thanking you in anticipation of your support.

Yours sincerely

Colin Moses
National Chairman

Yours sincerely

Steve Gillan
General Secretary