Work and Families Act 2006 Explanatory Notes

Section 13: Annual leave

57.Workers are currently entitled to four weeks paid annual leave under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (S.I 1998/1833). These regulations were made under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 and implement, in relation to Great Britain, the UK’s obligations under the Working Time Directive (2003/88/EC).

58.Section 13 provides the Secretary of State with a new free-standing power to make provision about entitlement to annual leave. Regulations made under the new power will have to comply with the Directive but they could make provision for leave which is more generous than that required by it.

59.The matters which may be dealt with in the regulations are specified in subsection (2). For example, the regulations may deal with the amount of annual leave entitlement and make provision for the presentation of complaints to an employment tribunal.

60.The Working Time Regulations 1998 currently deal with a number of related matters (such as the right of a worker not to be subjected to any detriment by reason of exercising his right to leave). Subsection (2)(g) ensures that regulations made by the Secretary of State under the new power may make comparable provision.

61.The Working Time Regulations 1998 extend to special classes of persons, such as persons in Crown employment and staff of the House of Commons and House of Lords. Subsection (4) ensures that the new power can also be exercised in respect of such persons.

62.Subsection (5) excludes from the power the subject-matter of the Agricultural Wages (Scotland) Act 1949. The Agricultural Wages (Scotland) Act 1949 regulates holiday entitlement and wages of agricultural workers in Scotland. It is within the power of the Scottish Parliament to legislate about the subject-matter of that Act as it is an exception to Section H1 of Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998 (which defines the reserved matters).

63.Regulations under this section are subject to the affirmative procedure (see subsection (7)).

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