Holiday pay and leave


Holiday entitlement

Most workers are legally entitled to paid holidays/annual leave. A worker's statutory paid holiday entitlement is 5.6 weeks (28 days for a worker working a five-day week). This can include public and bank holidays. The entitlement for part-time workers is calculated on a pro-rata basis. The 5.6 weeks is a minimum entitlement but you can choose to offer more.

A worker's entitlement to paid annual leave starts on the first day of employment and is not subject to a minimum period of employment.

You can count any days off for public or bank holidays towards a worker's statutory holiday entitlement, but only as long as you pay them for those days off.

Workers below school leaving age must have a two week break during school holidays.

When leave years may start

You may decide to have one date when your business' leave year starts or have different start dates for individual workers (or groups of workers). If you don't have written leave arrangements, a leave year will start:

  • on the date a worker's employment begins - if the worker started work after 1 October 1998;
  • on 1 October - if the worker started work on or before 1 October 1998.

Six-day weeks and part time staff

The statutory paid holiday entitlement is capped at 28 days. So, although 5.6 weeks would equal 33.6 days for someone working a six-day week (5.6 x 6), staff working a six-day week are only entitled to 28 days' paid holiday.

For part time workers, paid holiday entitlement is calculated pro-rata. So if a member of staff works three days a week, they are entitled to 16.8 days (5.6 x 3).

Time off on public and bank holidays

You do not have to give staff paid time off for bank and public holidays. However, you should set out in a worker's contract of employment:

  • any right to time off on bank and public holidays;
  • whether or not that time off is paid;
  • what you will pay them if they work one of these days, i.e. whether you will pay the normal rate of pay or an enhanced rate, eg 'time-and-a-half' or 'double time'.

Holiday entitlement for employees on other statutory leave

Employees taking statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and parental leave will continue to accrue statutory paid holiday and, in many cases, any contractual holiday entitlement.

Statutory paid holiday cannot be taken at the same time as maternity/adoption leave. When you are planning for the maternity/adoption leave, you may wish to discuss taking any outstanding holiday and perhaps delay the start of their maternity/adoption leave. Alternatively, it may be possible for them to take holiday in the period between their maternity/adoption leave finishing and the end of the leave year.

Accruing annual leave during sick leave

A worker continues to accrue their statutory minimum holiday entitlement as normal while absent from work due to sickness. This is regardless of how long the period of sickness lasts. Depending on the terms of their employment contract, they may also accrue any additional contractual annual leave that they would normally be entitled to.

Further guidance

Further information about holidays and other employment issues can be found on the GOV.UK website:

> GOV.UK - employment



This information is not meant as a substitute for professional advice and by no means covers every scenario. Almost every rule described here will be subject to many exceptions and caveats. Tax legislation is extremely complex and can be difficult to understand. You should discuss your circumstances with a qualified professional before acting on any information contained within this website. Tax legislation is constantly changing and the information contained within this website is written from our current understanding and interpretation of the tax system as of 6 April 2018.

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