Holiday entitlements: the basics

April 6, 2009
Lizzie Syddall

Since 1 October 2007 all workers have had a statutory right to at least 4.8 weeks paid annual leave (that’s 24 days paid holiday if you work five days a week). From 1 April 2009 this entitlement increased to 5.6 weeks (28 days).

The basics of holiday rights
There is a minimum right to paid holiday, but your employer may offer more than this. The main things you should know about holiday rights are:
you are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks times your usual working week
those working part time are entitled to the same level of holiday pro rata (so 5.6 times your usual working week)
you start building up holiday as soon as you start work
your employer can control when you take your holiday
you get paid your normal pay for your holiday
bank and public holidays can be included in your minimum entitlement
In order to qualify for the right to annual leave you need to be classed as a worker. If you are self-employed, you have no statutory right to paid annual leave.

Public and bank holidays
You do not have a statutory right to paid leave on bank and public holidays. If your employer gives paid leave on a bank or public holiday, this can count towards your minimum holiday entitlement. There are eight permanent bank and public holidays in England and Wales (nine in Scotland and ten in Northern Ireland).
If you work on a bank or public holiday, there is no automatic right to an enhanced pay rate. What you get paid depends on your contract of employment.
If you are part time and your employer gives workers additional time off on bank holidays, this should be given pro rata to you as well, even if the bank holiday does not fall on your usual work day.

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