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Change to Annual Leave Year 2014/2015

Introduction

New Financial Regulations (IFRS 102) mean that employers have to record how much leave they owe their staff at the end of the financial year and report this in their accounts. Our financial year runs from 1st August to 31st July each year. We will have to report any outstanding leave in our accounts from the end of July 2015.

Currently our holiday year runs from January to December each year, and this means that we could find that our accounts either show QMUL “owing” staff a lot of leave as most leave is taken in August, or staff “owing” QMUL leave if they take holidays early in the summer.

After discussing the matter with Trades Union colleagues, it has been agreed that we will move the holiday year to August - July. Please note that:

• There is no loss of holiday entitlement for anyone
• All holidays already agreed and booked will be honoured
• All leave agreed to be carried forward will be honoured
• Staff will still be able to book leave to take place in the following holiday year as they can do now.
• Holiday dates still need approval by the Head of School or Department or Institute Director
• Staff with responsibilities for students will still be expected to take leave only during vacation times (as now).

We will of course have to have a transition year. Therefore this year’s leave accounting period will run from 1 January 2014 to 31 July 2015. Thereafter the leave year will be 1 August to 31 July.  

This means that leave allocated for the period 1 January 2014 to 31 July 2015 will be 47.5 days (plus Bank holidays and closure days) for full time staff.

Current status

1. The annual leave year runs from 1 January and ends on 31 December with an allocation of 30 days’ annual leave for full time members of staff, pro-rated for part time staff.

2. All annual leave must be taken during the leave year. However, managers may authorise carry forward of outstanding leave entitlement into the next leave year in appropriate circumstances. Normally up to five days’ carry over will be agreed with no time limit applied to when it should be taken in the next leave year.

Going forward

3. Accurate recording of annual leave for full time and part time employees
In order to be accurate about taken and untaken annual leave, it is essential that all annual leave is recorded and booked using MyHR where staff have access to this system, and through paper based systems where there is no access to MyHR.  

4. Monitoring
Remember that staff must take the statutory minimum of 28 days’ leave per year (including Bank holidays) in a 12 month period. It is important that QMUL managers and staff keep an eye on outstanding holiday entitlement and know when to intervene to prevent excessive carry over or loading of untaken holidays at the end of the accounting period.

We are reconfiguring MyHR so that it can provide management information on holiday taken against accrued monthly entitlement. This will enable reports to be generated at individual, cost centre, department and QMUL level of reporting/holidays taken. The reconfiguration will be in place in July 2014.

5. Carry over of annual leave
Where staff members have not taken their full entitlement of leave by the end of the leave accounting period, managers currently have the authority to agree carry over with no time limit to indicate by when the leave carried over has to be taken. Normally the amount carried over is limited to five days, but there is flexibility to agree to more where circumstances are appropriate. It will not be necessary to propose a change to this current policy to comply with the new financial regulations. It will nevertheless be essential for accurate financial reporting purposes that any leave carried over is recorded on MyHR or in the appropriate paper process.

However, it is unhelpful and expensive for QMUL to carry high liabilities for untaken leave. The only time QMUL can pay for untaken leave is when staff leave QMUL. This is often very expensive and it does come from the School/Department/Institute’s salary budget. Managers and staff are therefore encouraged to begin reducing the amount of leave carried forward to the absolute minimum. Where high levels of carryover have been accumulated over a number of years you should set up a plan to reduce this over as short a period as possible.

It is recommended that all leave should be taken within the year it is earned and that carry over should only be permitted in exceptional circumstances. Furthermore the 5 day carry over limit is regarded as the absolute maximum, and should only be increased due to statutory requirements (sickness/maternity). The Head of School or Department or Institute Director should seek agreement of the VP or COO as appropriate if staff or managers wish to exceed 5 days’ carryover. Requests for exceptional carry over should be made at least 3 months before the end of the accounting period so the liability can be calculated, and so that there is still time to take remaining holiday should the request be declined.

6. Carryover of annual leave due to sickness or maternity
The statutory limit for carrying forward leave connected with sickness or maternity absence is capped at 20 days.

7. Accurate recording of sick leave
Where a staff member is on annual leave but becomes ill, the annual leave that was due to be taken can be reinstated on proof of the period of sickness being confirmed. It is essential that all periods of sickness absence are recorded on MyHR where this system is in use and on ResourceLink where HR carry this out on the behalf of the relevant School/Department/Institute. This is so that, where appropriate, untaken annual leave is given back and not recorded as having been taken.

We know that reporting levels of sickness absence and accuracy vary between Schools/Departments/Institutes. It is absolutely essential that all staff - academic or support/professional staff in all grades - report absence fully, both so that we can help them as soon as possible to get back to full health, and so that we can manage costs and leave entitlements.

SMD

Currently QMUL Honorary Consultant Contract holders request leave using a paper form. Barts Health records agreed leave for Consultants on their HR system however the NHS is unable currently to provide an automatic data transfer of this information to QMUL’s MyHR system. Moving forward Honorary Consultant Contract holders agreed leave requests will need to be recorded on MyHR in addition to the completion of the leave request form.

MAY 2014  

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