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What Holidays Am I Entitled To?

Through much of 2020 and 2021, the holiday plans of many workers in the UK have been thrown into disarray as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Flight cancellations, short-notice isolation requirements, requests to work during bank holidays due to staffing shortages, and many other factors have caused disruption. At the start of 2022, there are real grounds for optimism and greater certainty when it comes to booking holidays domestically and internationally. If you are currently making your holiday plans for 2022 or you are about to start a new job and reviewing your employment contract, it is important to understand what your holiday entitlement is by law and exactly how much holiday you are entitled to. Here we will explain your statutory entitlement to annual leave, holiday pay, and your rights under the Working Time Regulations 1998.

24 February 2022
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What is my statutory entitlement to annual leave?

The amount of paid annual leave you are entitled to take each year is defined in the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR 1998). Under the current UK law, the legal holiday entitlement for workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave each year (28 days). This is made up of two parts, a basic allowance required by the EU’s Working Time Directive under Regulation 13 and an additional domestic allowance under Regulation 13A of the WTR 1998.  
Regulation 13 states, “a worker is entitled to four weeks’ annual leave in each leave year”, and Regulation 13A states, “a worker is entitled in each leave year to a period of additional leave determined in accordance with paragraph (2)… in any leave year beginning on or after 1st April 2009, 1.6 weeks”.

Agency workers, part-time workers, workers with irregular hours, and those on zero-hour contracts receive the same annual statutory allowance, however, this is reduced in proportion to the number of hours worked each week (i.e. it is prorated).
When calculating the amount of annual leave you have remaining, it is important to remember that:

  • You do not need to work for a minimum period to gain entitlement to annual leave
  • Bank holidays may be included in your 28 days of annual leave allowance (this is decided by the employer) – it is important to check in your employment contract if this is the case.
  • If you start work with a new employer during the calendar year, your holiday entitlement will be calculated (i.e. pro-rated) based on your start date.

The ‘leave year’ (i.e. the start and end date) is normally included in your employment contract. If not, the leave year will start on your first day of work and each anniversary of that date.

Employment law states that your employer must provide you with a written statement of the particulars of your employment, and this must be received on or before your first day of work. This must include a full breakdown of your holiday entitlement, including any contractual allowance, whether this includes public holidays, how your annual leave pay will be calculated, and the payment of annual leave accrued if you leave the company.

Depending on your agreement with your employer, you may be eligible for more annual leave than the statutory amount required. In addition, your employer may decide to offer more favourable annual leave conditions, such as allowing you to take leave before it is accrued. 
What public holidays am I entitled to?

If you live in the UK, by law you are entitled to public holidays such as Christmas, New Year, Bank Holiday days etc. However, businesses such as retail companies that remain operating on these days can offer you work for an increased rate of pay or day in lieu.

How does annual leave accrual work?

Annual leave starts to accrue as soon as you start work. This means that after one full month of work, you will be owed one-twelfth of your statutory annual leave allowance. For example, for a full-time employee working five days each week, after six months, they will have accrued 14 days (28 / 12 x 6). Annual leave is also accrued by those on sickness leave, maternity/paternity leave, and adoption leave.

The purpose of annual leave accrual is to avoid a situation whereby an employee is eligible for their full paid holiday allowance on the day they commence employment. Your employer may, however, decide to offer more generous terms and allow you to take annual leave you have not yet accrued.

Do you still get holiday pay when off sick?

If you are off sick or on another form of leave (such as maternal or paternal leave) and hence unable to make use of your full annual leave, your employer must allow you to carry over up to 20 of your 28 days statutory leave entitlement to the following year by law.

Holiday pay entitlement when leaving a job

Holiday entitlement is accrued from the first day of employment and increases over the year based on a calculation of the number of holiday days contracted divided by the number of working days in the year. Therefore when you are leaving a job, if you haven’t used any holiday allowance it is highly possible that you will have days owed to you before you leave.

Final words

To check your holiday entitlement, we recommend using the Government’s online holiday entitlement calculator. This can be used whether you are a full-time, part-time worker, casual worker, or you work irregular hours. 

If you still have questions regarding your annual leave, holiday entitlement or when you can get holiday pay, speak to your human resources department or your manager, who should be able to explain this fully to you. If you have concerns regarding your annual leave allowance, e.g. if you are concerned your employers have misunderstood the applicable employment law, or they have breached the terms of your employment contract, speak to an employment law Solicitor who can advise you of your legal position and the best steps to take to protect your position.

Guillaumes LLP Solicitors is a full-service law firm based in Weybridge, Surrey. We have a highly experienced employment law team who can assist you with all matters relating to employment contracts and annual leave entitlement. To make an appointment, please contact us or call on 01932 840 111.