All workers employed for 5 days or more per week have a statutory maximum entitlement to 28 days holiday per year or 5.6 weeks.  Employers have the choice to include public holidays within this entitlement and increase the holiday entitlement within the contract of employment.

As not all workers have the same working pattern, the following table provides examples of calculating holiday entitlement:

Working Pattern

Annual Leave Entitlement

5 days per week

 5 x 5.6 weeks = 28 days

4 days per week

 4 x 5.6 weeks = 22.4 days

3 days per week

 3 x 5.6 weeks = 16.8 days

6 days per week

 5 x 5.6 weeks = 28 days (maximum entitlement)

Compressed hours (e.g. 30 hours in 3 days)

 30 x 5.6 weeks = 168 hours per year (or 16.8 days)

Annualised hours e.g. 2,000 hours at an average of 37 hours per week

 37 x 5.6 weeks = 207.2 hours per year

Holidays can be rounded up to the nearest half-day but they cannot be rounded down.  However, Employers may choose to pay part days.

Bank Holidays

Workers do not have a statutory right to paid leave for bank and public holidays if the employer does not include them in their statutory holiday entitlement. There are eight permanent bank and public holidays in England and Wales (nine in Scotland and ten in Northern Ireland). For all bank holidays see Bank Holidays

If employers have regional offices in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, they would normally include 8 days within the statutory maximum entitlement but be flexible on when these days can be taken in line with regional variations.

If a Worker works on a Bank Holiday there is no automatic right to any enhanced pay or any time of in lieu.  Their contract of employment should clarify if any payments are to be made.

If Bank Holidays are included in the Statutory Entitlement, any worker employed for less than 5 days per week will have the public/bank holiday deducted from their annual leave entitlement if it is their normal working day.

Shift workers

If a member of staff works four 12 hour shifts, followed by four days off (the ‘continental’ shift pattern) then they get half a day off for every 12 hour shift worked.  In a 7 day week they get 3.5 days off and their average working week is three-and-a-half 12 hour shifts. Their annual leave entitlement is 5.6 weeks x 3.5 = 19.6 shifts of 12 hours.

Holiday Pay

All Workers are entitled to their normal contractual pay for a week’s work as holiday pay.  If a worker’s pay varies then a week’s pay is the pay for the normal weekly working hours multiplied by the workers average hourly rate over the preceding 12 weeks.

Starting or leaving part way through a year

If a worker starts or leaves their job part way through a leave year they will be entitled to a pro rated amount of holidays based on how much of the year is left.  Using the statutory maximum entitlement of 28 days, this can be calculated by dividing 28 days by 12 months and then multiplying it by the number of completed months worked.

For example if the holiday year is January to December and a worker starts on 1st April, then they would have worked 9 months out of the year. 28 days/12 months x 9 months = 21 days holiday entitlement.  If someone starts or leaves part way through a month, for example, 14th April then the calculation would be 28/12 x 8.5 months.  Which would be 20 days.

In order to avoid any confusion any holidays should be confirmed to the Worker prior to starting or leaving an Employer.  Leavers are entitled to have any outstanding holidays paid to them as a payment in lieu.

Applying for leave

Workers are required to give notice to their employers.  This must be twice as long as the period of leave requested. For example a worker wanting two week’s holiday needs to provide at least one month’s notice. An employer can refuse permission by giving counter notice at least as long as the leave requested i.e. two weeks.

Carrying over leave

Any rules relating to the carrying over of leave should be stated in the contract of employment.  A Worker can carry over a maximum of 8 days of the Statutory Maximum entitlement.  However, the Employer must manage taking annual leave appropriately as the only time that the statutory entitlement can be paid to the Worker is if they leave.

Restrictions on taking leave

Employers may choose to shut down for certain periods meaning that Workers may have to take some of their annual leave entitlement.  This can include particular periods such as Christmas or Easter.

They can also determine the maximum amounts of leave to be taken and when leave can be taken, i.e. no longer than two weeks during the summer.

The Worker must be made aware of any restrictions via a contract of employment, collective agreement or implied through custom and practice.

Absence from work due to Maternity, Paternity, Adoption or Sickness

Workers are entitled to accrue their holidays during a period of absence from work due to the above reasons provided they have evidence to prove the reason for their absence.

If a Worker is off sick during a period of shut down or during a bank holiday, then their annual leave entitlement will be automatically be deducted from them as they would not have been able to attend work if they had been well.

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