Holidays and holiday pay

The law provides employees and workers with statutory holidays with pay. Employees have statutory holidays irrespective of how long they have been working, whether they are part or full-time, or their age.

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, employees and workers are entitled to 28 days paid holidays a year. This number includes Bank Holidays such as Christmas Day.

An employer should use the employment contract, or a written statement, to explain a worker’s holiday entitlements, or contractual holidays. The contract or statement should provide enough information for the worker to be able to calculate their holidays. An employer is free to add further time for paid holidays on top of the legal requirements.

The level of pay during holidays is governed by the worker’s normal pay. Some employers and agencies include holiday pay with normal hourly pay. If holiday pay is not clearly set out and itemised in a payslip, it could be unlawful.

Issues employers and workers need to consider are the refusal of a holiday request, whether an employer can instruct an employee to take holidays, untaken holidays, sickness while on holiday, and seasonal workers. There are also rules about holidays while an employee is on maternity/paternity or adoption leave.

Some types of workers do not have statutory holidays but can have contractual holidays. These are: military personnel, police officers, and officials in the civil protection services.

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