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Holiday Entitlement Rights Explained

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 27 Feb 2020 | comments*Discuss
Holiday Entitlement Employer Bank

If the only way you get through your job is by knowing that you can take a holiday, then you need to make sure your are taking your full entitlement. This is set by the government and employers must adhere. Your company may offer you a more generous package but even the stingiest boss must give you your full holiday entitlement each year.

Holiday Entitlement

Every full time worker in the UK has a minimum holiday entitlement of 4.8 weeks a year which work out as 24 days. Your employer may decide to give you more than this but every full time employee is entitled to be given this amount. In 2009 this is going to rise to 5.6 weeks a year, or 28 days. Your employer can’t give you less than this but they are allowed to control when you take it.

Holiday Years & Accruals

Generally, you must take all your allocated holiday time within the year. This may not be a calendar year and is usually set from your first day of employment. Some employers will let you carry over days that you haven’t taken into the next holiday year but you need to check what their terms are. Some employers also give out holidays by accrual when you first join the company. This means that for every month you work, you will be entitled to one twelfth of your holiday entitlement.

Bank Holidays

Most people assume that they are automatically entitled to take bank holidays off on top of their holiday entitlement. This isn’t always the case. Although most employers will let workers take these days off as extra, they don’t have to. If you take the bank holidays off, they can decide to include these days as part of your year’s holiday entitlement. There is also no law that says they have to pay you more money if you do end up working on a bank holiday.

Extra Holidays

If you have extra holidays left at the end of the year then some companies will ‘buy you out’. This means that instead of you taking the physical time off, they will pay you the extra money that you would have got. Some big companies also offer extra holidays as part of benefits package. So, for example, instead of opting for private healthcare, you can choose to have extra days off instead.

Part Time Workers

If you work on a permanent part time contract then you are entitled to the same holiday days pro rata. So for example, if you work half the time then you will get 2.4 weeks off a year. This is not the same if you are agency or casual staff when employers are not required to offer you the same amount of holiday although they do have to add holiday pay onto your wages.

As a permanent employee, whether full time or part time, you are entitled to the set holiday entitlement pro rata. You are not entitled to bank holidays, although most employers give these as extras anyway. Check what the terms of your holidays are before you sign a contract with a new employer and if they aren’t complying with the law then approach a trade union for help.

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i worked for the same agency for 16 weeks working 3 - 4 days a week and when I had a accident at work And they won't pay me saying that my earnings for the last 8 weeks is low and they pay me £21 for a days holiday pay when it is £78
nad - 27-Feb-20 @ 9:33 PM
I've been with my agency now for 1.5 year's the permanent staff get bank holidays on top of there holiday entitlement we av to use ours out of r hols. Get paid £1 less an hour when taking my hols. The twelve week rule that's all they go on about don't av any time off so stud get full pay. I'm losing a weeks pay every calender year. Can I claim all that back. An that's just the tip of wot being an agency. Thank u.
Lighty. - 26-Oct-18 @ 7:20 PM
I have worked for the company 5 years self employed and 1 year on the books. On my pay slips it says I have£ 749.00 of holiday fund. My boss says I've got to get my holidays in before the end of the year. But then I can't take them as other staff off. Am I entitled to my holiday fund cash instead. Please help
Ali - 21-Oct-18 @ 9:16 AM
I have been working for my current employer for over 12 months. Up until now I have had to accrue holiday before I could take it. Am I correct in believing that after 12 months I am entitled to take my holiday allowance without accruing as per the working time directive rules? Thanks
Matt - 25-Sep-18 @ 8:52 PM
Sarah- Your Question:
I work 22 hours a week and my boss has said I'm only entitled to 17days holiday a year and I've got to take my public holiday off this to is this right

Our Response:
You can calculate your annual entitlement via the link here. However, that sounds correct if you are working part-time hours, as holidays are calculated pro-rata.
WelfareAtWork - 15-Jan-18 @ 2:33 PM
I work 22 hours a week and my boss has said I'm only entitled to 17days holiday a year and I've got to take my public holiday off this to is this right
Sarah - 13-Jan-18 @ 3:13 PM
Disgruntled- Your Question:
Hi I have accrued over £1000 in holiday fund and this has been confirmed by my manager I'm taking 3weeks holiday next month but have been told I won't necessarily get all my fund as I will be paid based on my last 12 weeks pay this doesn't seem fair or right can they do this.

Our Response:
I am unsure what you mean by 'holiday fund' - therefore you would have to check your contract to see what it says. If this is a UK-based issue then you could also give ACAS a call if you cannot resolve the issue.
WelfareAtWork - 9-Feb-16 @ 11:23 AM
Hi I have accrued over £1000 in holiday fund and this has been confirmed by my manager I'm taking 3weeks holiday next month but have been told I won't necessarily get all my fund as I will be paid based on my last 12 weeks pay this doesn't seem fair or right can they do this.
Disgruntled - 8-Feb-16 @ 6:32 PM
hi I work in a well known supermarket and as of april next year we wont be getting any bank holidays and they are adding the hours to our holiday allowance this Christmas I have my day off on Friday which is Christmas day and they have said its tough if its your day off you loose it is this right as other people who should be working don't have to make the hours back!! really not happy so any advise would be great thanks
supertat - 22-Dec-15 @ 4:33 PM
I work for a restaurant courier service, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. How much holiday days would I be entitled to when I work every single day? My employer only allows 30 days, but that means I'm working 335 days in between. Is it possible that I'm entitled to an increase beyond 30 days?
Rooboy - 21-May-15 @ 12:51 PM
I have for the last 4yrs been allocated 87hrs annual leave, new annual leave has heen allocated for 2015 I have been told I am entitled to 99hrs, nothing has changed in my contract my Manager has said 99hrs is correct, I am wondering if I will be able to claim back the extra hours for the previous 4yrs years, my manager said yes, but said when looking back it may turn out I owe them, I cant understand how that would be possible as my contract has been the same nothing has changed in 4years
tay - 23-Jan-15 @ 7:02 PM
@mrsky43 - I am a little confused regarding the contract you are on that says you can't have holiday pay for two years. I have included the Acas link to holiday pay on zero hours contracts which may help - link here . Should you need anything clarifying further, then I suggest you call on its free helpline.
WelfareAtWork - 8-Jan-15 @ 2:33 PM
My company says that we have to be there two years to get Xmas holiday pay I've taken 10 days off last year and I've been there 12 months can they not pay me for the Xmas break
msrky43 - 8-Jan-15 @ 9:46 AM
@Sarah - A tricky one and I think this is one for ACAS to try advise on given that all the people in the staff meeting claim not to have heard part of the agenda, which was officially recorded. You can call the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100 (8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 9am-1pm Saturday). I hope this helps.
WelfareAtWork - 21-Nov-14 @ 11:03 AM
at a staff meeting we were all told that any holidays we had left this year would be carried over but next year any left we would loose. we have a holiday fund which show up on our payslips on our September payslips we found our holiday fund to be empty when we asked our employers why it was empty they turned round and said that they had said in the meeting that if we wanted the holidays to carry over we had to go into the office within two weeks to request this but I never heard this said and there is 5 other staff I have asked and also they said they never heard that said either, I telephoned them asking were my holiday fund had gone they said they would check the minutes of the meeting and get back to me, an hour later a member of staff went into the office and asked for a copy of the minutes which she was given with the last item on the minutes being the holiday money and saying we had to go into the office within 2 weeks to request it but as I say 6 of us never heard this said so can you give me any advice on this matter please
sarah - 20-Nov-14 @ 6:28 PM
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