Holidays and Holiday Pay

Employment law advice about holiday pay


Employment law provides full-time employees and workers with a minimum of 5.6 weeks’, or 28 days, holiday with pay. Employees have statutory holidays irrespective of how long they have been working, whether they are part or full-time, or their age.

Employee entitlements

A part-time worker, who is employed 3 days a week, is entitled to a holiday time that is proportionate to hours worked and the statutory 5.6 weeks. In this case, this is 3/5 of 5.6 weeks. Shift or term-time workers, alongside those working irregular hours, are entitled to proportionate paid time off work for every hour they work.

Employees can build up holiday time during maternity, paternity and adoption leave, build up holiday time while off sick and request holiday at the same time as sick leave. 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, employment tribunals could judge this to be unlawful.

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.

Employers’ discretion

Employment law cases have decided that an employer is not required to give Bank or public holidays as paid leave and can chose when these days are included as statutory leave. Although most contract of employment do state that Bank holidays are included as part of the 28 day allowance. The employer can also choose to provide more that the legal minimum and will need a policy to apply it consistently to all workers.

The best employment lawyer would advise an employer to 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.

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.