Law guide: Workplace

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Holiday entitlement

Holiday entitlement

The rights set out in this section apply to workers (individuals contracted to provide work or services on a full-time, part-time or fixed-term basis). This includes employees, but not self-employed staff. For more information, see Employees, workers and the self-employed.

Holiday entitlements

All workers have a statutory right to at least 5.6 weeks' paid annual leave (that's 28 days' paid holiday if you work 5 days a week). Note that this statutory right to annual leave is capped at 28 days' paid holiday, which means that you are not entitled to any more than this if you work for more than 5 days a week.

The basics of holiday rights

There is a minimum right to paid holiday, your employer may offer more than this. The main things you should know about holiday rights are:

  • You get a minimum of 5.6 weeks' (prorated for part time workers) paid holiday per year. Technically, this is split into 2 separate allocations of 4 weeks (20 days if you work full-time) and 1.6 weeks (8 days if you work full-time).
  • You start building up holiday as soon as you start work.
  • Your employer can control when you take your holiday.
  • When calculating your pay for the 4-week allocation, your employer must include other payments such as commission or overtime. When calculating your pay for the remaining 1.6 weeks, they only need to base this on your basic pay, plus any guaranteed overtime.
  • When you finish a job, you get paid for any holiday you've not taken.

Public and bank holidays

You do not have a statutory right to paid leave on bank and public holidays. If paid leave is given on a bank or public holiday, this can count towards your 5.6 weeks' minimum holiday entitlement.

If you work on a bank or public holiday, there is no automatic right to an enhanced pay rate. What you get paid depends on your contract of employment.

If full-time workers get paid leave on a public holiday, part-timers who don't normally work on that day have the right to paid time off on another day, proportionate to the hours they work.

What to do if you have problems

If you're not getting your full holiday entitlement, speak to your employer. If you have an employee representative (for example, a trade union official) you can ask for their help. Follow the procedures given in the article about sorting out work problems. If this doesn't help, you can complain to an employment tribunal (or industrial tribunal in Northern Ireland).

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