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Holiday leave

HolidayEmployees are entitled to 28 paid days holiday leave per year. This is made up of four weeks standard leave and eight bank holidays, which are paid, giving an annual entitlement of 5.6 weeks.

Of course, you can give more than this if you like.

If an employee works part-time then you can calculate holiday pay by multiplying the number of days the he or she works by 5.6. Or use the handy calculator on Gov.uk website. This is useful if an employee works a number of hours rather than days.

Accrual systems

Holiday leave is often worked out using the accrual system. This means that holiday entitlement will start to build up from the day an employee starts working for you.

If an employee wants to take more holiday than has been accrued then it’s up to you to decide if you’re happy with this.

If an employee leaves you will need to pay for any holiday that’s accrued and not been taken. And if an employee has a negative holiday balance then you can take this out of the final pay.

Holiday notice period

Ideally, a contract will state the period of notice that an employee must give to ask to take holiday. This will give you time to plan holiday cover. If there’s no agreement in place, an employee must give notice of at least twice the length of the time they want to take off.

And you must respond to a holiday request within the same length of time as the holiday due to be taken. So if an employee gives two days’ notice for one day’s leave, you must reply within one day.

You don’t have to agree to holiday, especially if it’s inconvenient but it’ll help your relationship with an employee if you’re reasonable. And if you can’t allow an employee to take the time off work because it’s not convenient for you, try to agree a mutually convenient date when the holiday can be taken.

Bank holidays

There are eight bank holidays a year and these days form part of the 28 day entitlement. The eight days can be taken at any time and don’t have to be taken on bank holidays. You can ask employees to work on bank holidays, unless it’s in their contract that they don’t have to.

Restricting when leave can be taken

It’s best to set out in an employee’s contract if there are any times when they can’t take holiday, or any restrictions on the number of days taken at once, or times when you would like an employee to take holiday – over Christmas or for two weeks in the summer, for example.

And don’t forget, an employee must be able to take annual leave. It’s against the law to deny the holiday altogether. They can take it altogether at the end of the year. But if there isn’t time, then you can allow them to carry some of it over into the following year.

Carrying over holiday

A contract should state how many days holiday an employer can carry over. If an employee gets 28 days’ leave, they can carry over up to a maximum of eight days. If they get more than 28 days it’s up to you whether you allow them to carry over untaken leave until the following year or not.

If an employee hasn’t been able to take holiday due to sickness then they can carry over some or all of the holiday leave that they haven’t taken, up to a maximum of 20 days.

Holiday entitlement

Holiday accrual systems explained

Christmas holidays and work