Holiday Entitlement

Do you know how much holiday you are entitled to?

Most workers have a right to a minimum amount of paid holiday from work (statutory holiday). This includes full-time, part-time, agency and casual workers. The rules apply regardless of how long you have worked for your employer and how old you are, unless you are under school leaving age.

Exceptions are those in the armed forces, police or civil protection forces or if you are self-employed. If you fall into these categories, check your contract of employment.

How much paid holiday can you take?

Your contract of employment may entitle you to more than the statutory amount of paid holiday (contractual holiday), but can’t allow you less. If you are an agency worker you may have the right to the same amount of contractual holiday as permanent employees. To work out your statutory holiday entitlement multiply 5.6 by the number of days you work in the week e.g.

  • if you work a 5 day week you are entitled to 28 days paid holiday a year (5.6 X 2.5)
  • if you work 2.5 days a week, you are entitled to 14 days paid holiday a year (5.6 X 2.5)

28 days is the maximum statutory paid holiday you are entitled to in a year. There is a calculator to help you work out your entitlement at

How much holiday pay should you get?

Your pay should be at the same rate as when you are working

Rolled up holiday pay

Some employers and employment agencies might say that your hourly rate of pay includes an amount for holiday pay and they expect you to save this to cover your holidays. This is called rolled up holiday pay and is illegal unless it is additional to your basic rate of pay and is made clear what the amount is for.

When can you take holiday?

You can ask to take your leave when you choose, but you must give your employer notice at least twice the length of the leave you want to take e.g. if you want 3 days holiday, you must give at least 6 days notice and you should take into account any agreements between you and your employer about when you can take leave. However, your employer does not have to agree to your request, but they must give you the same amount of notice as the holiday you wish to take e.g. if you want to take two weeks they must tell you at least two weeks before your holiday that you cannot take it. Your employer can make you take any or all of your holiday at a given time if they give you notice which is twice the length of leave they want you to take.

Are you entitled to take bank holidays and public holidays off work?

You do not have a legal right to bank or public holidays. If you do get them, you do not have a legal right to be paid for them. If your employer does give you paid bank or public holidays, they will be counted as part of your statutory holiday unless your contract says that you get them on top of your statutory entitlement. For example, if you work 5 days a week, you are entitled to 28 days paid holiday per year. If you have bank and public holidays off and are paid for them, they will be deducted from your 28 days. In England and Wales there are 8 bank/public holidays per year, so you would be left with 20 other days paid holiday.

Your employer refuses to let you take holiday after you gave proper notice

  • Try to get a written statement of the terms and conditions in your contract. All employees have a right to this, and it should include entitlement to paid holiday
  • Talk to your employer and try to reach an agreement which is acceptable to both of you
  • Get help to do this from a Trade Union Representative, if you have one, or from an experienced adviser

If talking to your employer doesn’t work, you should raise a written grievance with your employer, and if you need to take matters further, you can make a claim to an employment tribunal. You should think carefully before doing either of these as it might have a negative effect on your relationship with your employer and you may have to pay fees to make a claim. You should seek advice before making a claim to an employment tribunal. There are time limits (usually 3 months minus 1 day from the date when the thing you are complaining about happened) during which you must make your claim.

In addition to further advice from your Citizens Advice Bureau or the CA website ACAS operates a telephone helpline which provides information and advice about employment issues. Tel 0845 747 4747.

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