PA Holiday Calculations

I’m a Self-Employed PA with around 10 years experience in SDS, who supports a gentleman to manage his package and employees. I’m also a community worker for Support Choices, which is an organisation who works closely with Local Authority and the community to improve knowledge and accessibility surrounding SDS options.

As it is coming up to the end of the current tax year, I have had a few conversations/queries from people who are experiencing difficulties regarding PA holiday entitlement, and the calculations provided to them by their accountants.

From my discussions, PA’s are being declined holiday pay by the managed accountant, who states that they have not yet accrued the holiday pay that they are requesting. This in itself is entirely legal and correct, however due to the personal, and often essential, nature of a PA’s role in peoples lives, these timescales and rules surrounding how and when holidays are paid are not very helpful.

By the end of the tax year the PA will have worked enough hours to receive this pay. Basically the PA has to accrue the holidays by FIRST working the hours, before they are entitled to that pay. This therefore forces the PA to either take unpaid leave due to not having accrued enough to date, change their holidays to a date right at the end of March, or give up their holidays entirely due to having to cover other PA’s who have been forced to take holidays all at the same time (or risk losing them themselves). All of which can cause distress, disorganisation and put pressure on other PA’s and families.

To clarify:
1 - If all PA’s (particularly those who work as part of a larger package of care for someone) were to take their remaining holidays only after they are accrued at the very end of the tax year, this would leave the employer in crisis with minimal/no staff to their provide support.
2 - A PA is not allowed to carry unused holidays into the following tax year, so they either must use holidays at detriment to the employer due to inconvenient timing, or lose their holidays at detriment to themselves.
3 - If a PA intends on taking a holiday early on in the tax year (e.g. a weeks holidays in April), they would be unable to do so, due to not having worked enough hours to accrue one week of holiday pay, therefore restricting PA’s to the time of year when they are able to book time off, and also how much time they can afford to book off.

I feel that these difficulties could be at least partially remedied by allowing PA’s to take holidays whenever they like throughout the year, and if an overpayment occurs (like holidays taken early and a staff member leaves, or fails to work the minimum predicted/contracted hours), the amount could be deducted from the employee’s final pay. Also, this would give more flexibility to be able to spread out holidays throughout they year, which would significantly lower the risk of PA employers encountering a crisis at the end of the year, because all staff are trying to take holidays.

Any feedback would be appreciated. I would love to hear how others manage this dilemma, and if there are/will be measures put in place to remedy this issue?

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Lets breathe … slowly, and reflect what we do.
I just covered a 12 hour night shift, for a member of my son’s staff team who was sick.
At short notice.
I don’t get paid for this: the person being supported is my son, in his own home, and I am 70 years old.
I don’t resent this at all: I’m happy to help out when needed.
It is not that complicated. Lets say you work for a disabled adult person who wishes to visit his sister in New Zealand, and gives you six months notice of his/her intentions. That’s fine: they are entitled to inform you that your leave period will include a break at their convenience, with reasonable notice - as I see it.
This is quite normal - many employers in , e.g. Glasgow, insist that employees take time off for the Glasgow Fair break, or for the Xmas holidays. Isn’t it?
Generally speaking, as a PA employer, I would always seek to give ample notice of leave, but I would not pay someone to kick their heels whilst away on holiday. My view would be that everyone should be nice and reasonable, but if you are unwilling to be flexible and helpful, then maybe this is not the right job for you.
“allowing PA’s to take holidays whenever they like throughout the year”
Go sing, sister - that is NOT how the world works - I mean apart from anything else, we have to manage a rota, so YOUR leave has to fit around OUR needs and also those of the other people we employ in the team! You might note that there is no ‘I’ in the word ‘team’.
Compromise works both ways. Any decent PA employer will work around your own needs and requests: so if you need to visit a relative in the USA for a wedding, or need time off for a funeral etc, most of us will do our best to accommodate you. Ultimately though, its our decision, and our call.

  • We employ you.
  • We can also fire you.
  • Like it, or lump it. (If it doesn’t suit you, go somewhere else)
  • We are nice, but we are still your boss.
    This is not like working in a big organisation: it takes compromise, but it has many advantages over corporate life, because you are treated as a human being, a valued part of the family. Respect and common sense apply: not hard and fast rules.

Hi Scally,

Thanks for your feedback and I’m sorry if you feel my query came across as problematic in any way.
I believe you possibly misunderstood the intention of this post however, as I am querying if any other PA Employers are experiencing trouble trying to authorise a PA’s holiday pay (from managed accountant), that they are legally entitled to, regardless of the time of year when they take the holidays. When I said PA’s should take their holidays whenever they like, I mean that they should not be restricted to taking them only AFTER they have accrued the relative holiday pay.

A positive PA Employer/Employee relationship is imperative and I do think that some flexibility and understanding from all parties, play a key role in having a successful Op.1 package.

All employees (big business or not), are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid Annual Leave per year. If an employer refuses this, it is against the law and they could risk having legal action brought against them. If you employ PA’s, and are not paying your staff holidays, please be aware they may take legal action against you through employment tribunal.
If your PA’s are self-employed then they are not entitled to holiday pay, but are still entitled to AL (unpaid).

I am very glad you are there to support your son.
Unfortunately for many people who employ PA’s, they do not have family/friends who can step in and support when a PA cannot attend. And if there are a team of 5 PA’s who all have to take time off at the end of March then this creates huge difficulties for an employer with no other support (just like the gentleman I work with).

In an effort to try and have staff take AL with as little disruption to the employer as possible, it would be beneficial to have different staff take AL at different times throughout the year. Primarily to benefit the employer and ensure they are not left in crisis and without support.

May I ask how you manage and calculate your employees holidays?

Many Thanks,

PAs accrue holiday pay as they move through the year ie. you don’t have to work the full year before being entitled to holidays. Each PA is entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks annual leave per year or 28 days, full time equivalent, part time is pro rata. That means that a full time PA accrues annual leave at a rate of at least 2.3 days per month worked.

Common sense would be to do as you say and allow PAs to take holidays at any time that suits all parties, if they leave and have taken ‘too many’ holidays the money would be taken from their final wages payment. It simply doesn’t work well if you have a team of PAs and only let them take holidays that they have already accrued. A clause can be written into the contract to say that no annual leave can be taken in the first three months in work as this at least allows some accrual before any annual leave is taken.

Common sense should apply but unfortunately sometimes it doesn’t.


Thats how we see it too, Les.
With our team of five staff, full and part-time, we have appointed our most experienced and senior support worker as a senior practitioner - and he organises the rotas and annual leave - which saves us a huge amount of work and hassle. If anyone is unhappy with this, they can of course appeal to us, but it seems to work pragmatically and well.

What Les said. I am both a PA myself and I also employ a PA on behalf of my son. Both as an employer and an employee we don’t wait for holiday to stack up before it can be taken.

Additionally, if you are Self-Employed, I’m not sure you have a holiday entitlement at all, and of course you can set your own hourly rate. I expect Les may have some further info on that.

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