What Holiday Time Are You Entitled To?

Updated on May 15, 2020
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Kate has over eight years of experience as an employment and personal injury legal executive. She runs LawCat, a legal explanations website.

This article is designed for employers and employees based in the UK.

When employed, you can expect to be entitled to a certain amount of holiday.

However, it can sometimes be difficult to know exactly what holiday you are legally entitled to. One of the most common types of question raised with me concerns holiday entitlement. Many of us are unsure what holiday we can take, how much is available, how we can take it, and what to do if we are refused holiday we believe we are entitled to.

A lot of the confusion arises from situations where employees are not provided with a written contract that lays this out clearly. Other causes can include when you suspect that the amount of holiday specified in a written contract is incorrect.

Regardless of the cause for the confusion, this article will lay out clearly what holiday employees are entitled to take.

Where Do You Want To Go On Your Next Holiday?
Where Do You Want To Go On Your Next Holiday?

What Affects Your Holiday Entitlement?

Your holiday entitlement can be affected in a number of ways. The most common elements that affect your holiday entitlement are:

  • Whether or not you are you a full time or part time employee.
  • Whether you are you an employee, a temporary worker, or self-employed.
  • Your position in the company.

Holiday entitlement is affected by how many hours you work. The type of worker that you are classed as will also have an effect, as you need to be classed as an employee to gain holiday rights. Your poison in the company will also affect how much time you are given, although it won’t affect your statutory rights.

What Holiday Are You Eligible For

If you are classed as an employee, you will be legally eligible for:

  • Paid holiday days
  • A week’s pay for each week of holiday you take.
  • Accrued holiday entitlement during maternity, paternity, and adoption leave
  • Built up holiday entitlement while off work sick
  • The right to choose to take a holiday at the same time as sick leave

Almost all full-time workers, but not self-employed people, are entitled to just over five weeks (28 days) paid holiday per year. This is called statutory leave entitlement/annual leave. Your employer can include bank holidays as part of your statutory leave entitlement so you may receive eight bank holiday days and 20 holiday days. Some holiday days can be influenced by some hours you work.

Statutory Leave

You will be entitled to the 28 days statutory leave if you work a 5-day/40-hour week. Statutory leave entitlement is calculated by multiplying the number of days you work by the 5.6 weeks of paid holiday each year. This is calculated by multiplying an average week (5 days) by the annual entitlement of 5.6 weeks.

So, for example, if you work for four days a week, your leave will be calculated by multiplying four by 5.6 which comes to 22.4 days of paid annual leave.

If you work irregular hours, you can calculate your statutory leave entitlement by using the government calculator, which can be found here.

Statutory paid holiday entitlement is limited to 28 days, although your employer can choose to offer more leave than the legal minimum, check your employment contract for your actual amount of holiday days.

Check out the UK government Website's calculator to assess how much holiday you are entitled to take!


What If You Are Not Getting the Right Amount of Holiday

Paid annual leave is a right given to workers, although self-employed people are not considered workers. If you are an employee and you do not receive paid annual leave, or you do receive paid annual leave but are not sure you are receiving the right amount of paid annual leave then you should speak with your employer. If your employer is either unclear or difficult about this issue, then you should check your contract.

If you discover that you are not receiving the right amount or any of the owed annual leave, then you should approach your employer informally at first. An informal approach is recommended as this could be a genuine error on the part of your employer, and an informal approach will help maintain your employer/employee relationship. Ask to talk with your employer privately and make them aware that you believe there has been an error in regard to your holiday time and/or pay. If they rectify this then the issue is resolved and has been done so in an amicable and beneficial way for all parties.

If however, your employer does not resolve the issue then they are deliberately and knowingly depriving you of your right to annual leave then you should move on to raising a formal grievance with them. A grievance should be raised in writing and should be brief and to the point, clearly explaining why you believe your employer is at fault and what you think they can do to rectify the situation. This will trigger a formal investigation into the situation and will, hopefully, rectify it. However, if your employer still refuses to grant you your entitlement, then you can pursue the matter at the Employment Tribunal. You can bring a claim for the unpaid holiday wages you should have received or if this has caused your employer/employee relationship to break down you could consider a claim for constructive dismissal. However, before going down that path it is wise to speak to ACAS first to try and resolve the issue through a third party. ACAS is a free service and you need to speak with them in an attempt to resolve the situation before you go to Tribunal. You cannot go to Tribunal before speaking with ACAS.

Are You Getting The Right Amount of Holiday Time?

Are You Getting The Right Amount of Holiday Time?

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In Conclusion

You need to be employed as an employee to obtain holiday rights. The more hours you ok, the more holiday you will be legally entitled to. You can be given more than the statutory minimum but not less than this. If you are given less than the statutory minimum you should address this with your employer quickly so that the issue can be rectified. This could be a genuine mistake on the part of your employer so approach in a civil manner. If however, your employer does not rectify the mistake then you should raise a formal grievance. If your grievance is unsuccessful you can make a claim to Tribunal for unpaid holiday wages.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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