Every person who is employed is entitled to paid time off from work and the law does lay down how much time is allowed to be taken as a minimum.

This time off is called holiday entitlement and the minimum amount you can be given is referred to as statutory entitlement. Your employer may decide to give you more entitlement that the statutory by law, but they cannot give you any less.

The entitlement to paid leave is laid down in the Working Time Regulations and it says that workers, including part time, agency and freelance workers are entitled to:

  • 28 days (or 5.6 weeks) paid leave every year (if you work 5 days a week)
  • Have any leave paid to you on termination of your employment

If you work more than 5 days a week, for example Monday to Saturday you will still only be entitled to 28 days paid leave. This is the maximum entitlement you can have even if you work more than 5 days a week.

If your employer gives you time off on bank holidays, this is included within the statutory entitlement unless specified in your contract. Unfortunately for employees, it typically is specified in your contract that bank holidays are included as part of your statutory entitlement. This means that if you take every bank holiday available in England as holiday, you will only be entitled to twenty ‘extra’ paid days leave.

In England there are 8 bank holidays a year, in Scotland 9 and in Northern Ireland 10, so you will need to take into account your location in Britain when calculating your entitlement.

Calculating Pro Rata Holiday Entitlement

An easy way to calculate your entitlement is take the number of days you work and multiplying it by 5.6. So if you work 3 days a week, you can multiply 3 x 5.6 so your entitlement is 16.8 days.

There are some professions with exemptions to these regulations. Agricultural workers’ holiday is calculated in a different way and armed forces and the police will not have these regulations applied due to the requirements of their roles.

When you are employed but not at work for some reason, such as maternity or paternity leave or sickness, you will still accrue your entitlement to paid leave.

If you are off sick, you will still accrue your entitlement and you are allowed to carry over any leave accrued to the following year if you do not want to take it or if you are too ill to take it. You can also request to be paid for this leave if you wish.

The same applies if you are on maternity or paternity leave, although many people choose to tag their accrued leave on to the beginning or the end of their leave.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our employment services, please call us on 0800 142 2775 or reply to this email and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).