Everybody needs a holiday once in a while. Getting away from it all and having fun is a vital part of our well-being and allows us to recharge our batteries. But when you work as an employee, you are often bound by rules that restrict how much holiday entitlement you can take. And understanding the rules for taking leave can be confusing. But never fear because we are here. In this article, we will discuss what holiday entitlement in UK actually means. We will also talk about the many rules that govern it. Let’s get started.

What is the Holiday Entitlement in the UK for Employees?

The law states that almost all workers in the UK have an entitlement to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday each year. This is known as statutory leave entitlement or annual leave. This equates to 28 days of holiday entitlement. Some of these days may be set in stone (such as Christmas and Easter) but others will be flexible.

holiday entitlement in UK

What Governs Holiday Entitlement in the UK?

The law that sets the holiday entitlement in the UK is the Working Time Regulations 1998. These regulations set out that all workers except those genuinely self-employed have an entitlement to paid annual leave. The rules set out that workers have a right to:

  • Receive pay for leave.
  • Build up (‘accrue’) holiday entitlement during maternity, paternity, and adoption leave.
  • Build up holiday entitlement while off work sick.
  • Request holiday at the same time as sick leave.

Does This Mean I Will Only Get 28 Days Holiday Entitlement in the UK?

Not necessarily. Some companies will offer extra holiday entitlement outside of statutory leave. For example, they may offer more annual leave days. Or they may offer bereavement days or moving home days. Some will even offer time off for non-emergency medical or dental appointments.

What About Unpaid Holiday Leave?

While you may request extra unpaid time off to go on holiday, your employer is not legally obliged to allow it. While most employers will allow unpaid leave in certain circumstances, it is unlikely they will accept a request that is purely for holiday purposes. If the request is for something like a dental appointment or moving home, then it is more likely to be accepted.

Do All Workers Get Holiday Entitlement in the UK?

Except for those who are genuinely self-employed, yes. All workers in the UK who have a contract of employment with an employer have a right to annual leave. These workers include:

  • Agency workers
  • Workers with irregular hours
  • Workers on zero-hours contracts

Can An Employer Include Bank Holidays in Holiday Entitlement?

Most workplaces will include bank holidays within the 28 days’ statutory holiday entitlement of an employee. An employer, however, does not have to give bank holidays as paid leave. They can instead choose to use the 28 days statutory requirement elsewhere.

What About Part-time Workers?

Part-time workers are entitled to statutory annual leave, which is equivalent to at least 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday. Because they work fewer hours than full-time staff, this may, however, amount to fewer than 28 days.

What if I Work More than 6 Days a Week?

There is a 28 day limit on statutory paid holiday entitlement. This is regardless of the number of days worked. This means that staff working 6 days a week still only have an entitlement to 28 days’ paid holiday.

Try Papershift’s staff leave planner software to manage it with ease.

Written by Siva

I write & describe the value & benefits delivered by Paperhift's rota planning, staff time tracking, and employee payroll management software. Especially useful for Shift Planners, Rota Managers, Team Admins, and HR Teams 🙂

Illustration by Polina Makeeva from Ouch!