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HOLIDAYS (UK Holiday Entitlement)

Minimum UK Holiday Entitlement

Employees and workers have a statutory right to paid holiday (self-employed people don’t).

As a minimum, the entitlement is 5.6 weeks paid holidays per year. For a full time person that’s 28 days, including the (normally) 8 paid public holidays.

What if there’s an extra bank holiday?

This won’t change the minimum right, but the employer may choose to grant the additional day.

What about zero hours workers?

This can be a surprisingly complex topic and a 2022 Supreme Court case changed the way zero hours and term time only holidays were calculated. However, at the time of writing, the government was in the process of legislating to neutralise the impact of Brazel Vs Harpur Trust.

Most employers continue to apply a multiple of 12.07% to work out how much holiday pay a zero hours or casual worker is due:

e.g. if a worker has earned an average of £400 a week over a 12 week period, the holiday pay accrued would be 12.07 X 400 X 12 = £579.36.

Whilst this method is not strictly speaking accurate following Brazel Vs Harpur Trust, it is what most employers continue to do pending corrective legislation.

How do I work out holiday pay?

Workers are entitled to receive their ‘normal’ rate of pay for their holiday.

This begs the question ‘what is normal’?

‘Normal’, in this context includes the rate of pay as defined in the contract of employment plus any other contractual remuneration, that is amounts that are written into the contract to which the employee is entitled, for example contractual commission, contractual overtime and other payments expressly provided for by the employment contract, or which are ‘normal’ for the employee to receive.

Do I have to include voluntary overtime in holiday pay?

Genuinely voluntary occasional overtime payments don’t have to be included, but things are different if overtime is a ‘normal’ occurrence. The operative word here is ‘normal’. If the employee normally receives overtime, then this should be included in the calculation. Like so many aspects of employment law, this is open to interpretation – ultimately we look to case law to give an indication around what is ‘normal’.

When does holiday start to accrue?

Day 1 of employment.

How much notice does an employee have to give to take hoilday?

Normally the employment contract will state the notice required. If it doesn’t, the law requires at least twice the notice of a holiday requested (i.e. 2 weeks notice for a 1 week holiday).

Can an employer refuse a holiday request?

Yes, by giving at least equivalent notice of the holiday to be refused (i.e. a week for a 1 week holiday requested). This right should not be unreasonably exercised however, and unreasonable employers may face breach of contract claims in addition to other employment-related claims.

Can an employer require an employee to take holiday at particular times?

Yes, provided the request is reasonable and enough notice is given. If this is a regular occurrence, e.g. the period between Christmas and new year, we would expect the contract of employment to say this.

What about maternity leave?

Holiday continues to accrue during maternity leave and is not lost just because a woman is unable to take all of her accrued holiday before the end of the leave year. She will also be entitled to the bank holidays that accrue during her maternity leave.

And sick leave?

Holiday pay continues to accrue during sick leave and case law would suggest that a worker returning from long term sick should be given the opportunity to take their accrued holiday for up to 18 months after the leave year has expired.

Do I have to grant time off for religious events?

No, but employers should only refuse if it isn’t reasonably possible to accommodate the request.

Help and support

We are happy to assist our clients to develop bespoke local rules for holidays and to amend contracts of employment to provide the best fit holiday solutions for each individual clients’ requirements.

If you’re thinking of outsourcing your HR, payroll or employment law needs, why not contact myHRdept? Call us on 01628 820515, email us at to discuss your requirements, or contact us via our website and we’ll call you back.

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