Annual Leave and Holidays

Paid Vacation / Annual Leave

Almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ (28 days) paid holiday per year (known as statutory leave entitlement or annual leave). Most workers who work a 5-day week must receive 28 days’ paid annual leave per year. This is calculated by multiplying a normal working week (5 days) by the annual entitlement of 5.6 weeks. Statutory paid holiday entitlement is limited to 28 days. Staff working 6 days a week is only entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday and not 33.6 days (5.6 multiplied by 6). Workers do not have a statutory right to paid leave on bank and public holidays. If paid leave is given on a bank or public holiday, this can count towards the 5.6 weeks minimum holiday entitlement. However, many employers will provide paid leave on bank and public holidays in addition to the worker’s annual leave entitlement. During the term of annual leave, workers are paid at their weekly rate of pay for the days of annual leave.


Workers can take annual leave in installments/parts however, the leave must be taken in the year it became due (i.e. it cannot be carried over to next year) and worker may not accept a payment in lieu of leave except in the case of employment termination.


Under New Rules (The Deduction from Wages (Limitation) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3322), Where the employer has made any unlawful deductions from holiday pay which the employee is entitled to, the employee can only claim for unlawful deductions made within two years from their pay. This will be applicable to claims starting from 1 July 2015. Furthermore, the new rules also provide that that the right to payment in respect of annual leave provided for by the Regulations is not intended to operate in such a way so as to provide that right under a worker’s contract. It is a separate statutory right.

Source: §13 & 13-A, 15, 16 & 18 of Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended by 2007 Amendment Regulations

Pay on Public Holidays

Employees in UK are entitled to public holiday benefits for the following eight public holidays: New Year’s Day (1st Jan), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May Bank holiday, Spring Bank holiday, Summer Bank holiday, Christmas Day (25 Dec) and Boxing Day. Bank holidays are holidays when banks and many other businesses are closed for the day. However, public holidays are also referred to as bank holidays, with the two terms often used interchangeably. Bank holidays are legally known to observe closures of bank and financial institutions. Even though all banks are closed on official bank holidays, many shops remain open. Workers do not have an automatic right to paid leave on bank and public holidays in the UK. It is the employer's choice to include public holiday in entitled annual leave or provide it in addition to annual leave. (

Weekly Rest Days

Workers have the right to an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work each week, or 48 hours each fortnight. A worker’s employment contract may say they are entitled to more or different rights to breaks from work. An employer should give an employee enough breaks to make sure their health and safety is not at risk if that work is ‘monotonous’ (e.g. work on a production line). Domestic workers in a private house (e.g. a cleaner or au pair) are not entitled to rest breaks for health and safety reasons.


Source: §11 & 23 of the Working Time Regulations 1998;

Regulations on Annual Leave and Holidays

  • Employment Rights Act (ERA), 1996 last amended in 2012
  • Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended by 2007 Amendment Regulations)