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Holiday entitlements: the basics

All workers have a right to at least 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave, but you could receive more than that. Your employer can control some things about your holiday, including when you should take it and whether they include bank holidays in your entitlement.

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 that:

  • you are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave - 28 days for someone working five days a week (capped at a statutory maximum of 28 days for all working patterns)
  • part-time workers are entitled to the same level of holiday pro rata (so 5.6 times your usual working week, eg 22.4 days for someone working four days a 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
  • when you finish a job, you get paid for any holiday you have not taken
  • bank and public holidays can be included in your minimum entitlement
  • you continue to be entitled to your holiday leave throughout your ordinary and additional maternity leave and paternity and adoption leave

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.

Contractual holiday rights

Your employer may give you more than the minimum 5.6 weeks' leave as part of your terms of employment. You can check how much leave you are allowed by referring to your contract or company handbook.

You have no right to additional holiday, even if it's unpaid, unless your contract provides for it. Your employer can set their own rules on any holidays they give over and above the legal minimum. Your employer is not allowed to give you less than the legal minimum.

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.

What to do if you have problems

If you are not getting your full holiday entitlement, speak to your employer. If you have an employee representative (for example, a trade union official) you can ask for their help. Follow the procedures given in the article about sorting out work problems. If this does not help, you may be able to complain to an Employment Tribunal.

  • Source Direct Gov
  • Last Updated: 06 Jan 2012