The statutory holiday rules state that workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ holiday per year.If you are unsure about how many days paid holiday you can take a year, there is an easy way to work this out. Multiply 5.6 by the number of days you work in a week.Let’s look at some examples:
if you work five days a week, then you are entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday per year (5.6 x 5)
if you work 2.5 days a week, then you are entitled to 14 days’ paid holiday per year (5.6 x 2.5)
Please note the maximum amount of statutory paid holiday you are entitled for is 28 days, even if you work more than five days a week.As we’ve said before, the statutory holiday rules state you are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year. So, even if your contract of employment says you can only take, say, 10 days’ paid holiday per year and you work five days a week, you are still entitled to the 28 days’ paid holiday per year as stated in the rules. Your employer can of course give you more than the statutory paid holiday if they so wish as there is no upper limit to how much holiday you can be given.A handy point to mention here is that if your normal working week is expressed in hours, then your statutory leave will also most likely be expressed in hours too.Before the 1st of April 2009 the statutory holiday rules stated you were entitled to 4.8 weeks holiday per year, but this has now increased to 5.6 weeks per year. If your leave started before 1st of April 2009 and carries on after the 1st of April 2009, your annual leave will be worked out on a pro-rate basis- you will receive 4.8 weeks pro rata for the period before the 1st of April 2009 and 5.6 weeks pro rata for the period after.
What is a leave year?A leave year is basically a one-year period in which you get to take your year’s worth of holiday entitlements. In most cases your employer will usually agree the start and end dates of your leave year with you, but for information most leave years start on 1st January and finish on 31st December. Others start on 6th April and finish on 5th April the following year, to coincide with year-end.If you’re worried that you and your employer haven’t agreed when your leave year should start and end, don’t panic, the leave year will start on:
1st October (23rd November in Northern Ireland), if you started employment with your employer on or before 1st October 1998 (23rd November 1998 in Northern Ireland. Leave years start on the same date each year, so each leave year in this case will start on the following 1st October (23rd November in Northern Ireland); or
if you started employment with your employer after 1st October 1998 (23rd November 1998 in Northern Ireland), then your leave year will start on the date you started work.
If you started employment partway through your leave year, then the amount of leave you will get will depend on how much of the leave year you have worked. So for example, if you started work in April in a company where the leave year starts on 1st October, then you have started half-way through the leave year. Therefore, you will get half the annual paid leave for that year.
Please note there are special rules if you are in your first year of employment.If you are unsure how much holiday you are entitled to, we recommend you seek the help of an experienced adviser such as Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).Bank and public holidaysA common misconception people have is that they believe they are automatically entitled to take bank or public holidays off work, with or without pay. This is actually incorrect. You are not legally entitled to take these days off and this will depend on your employment contract.Your employment contract may say that you have the right to statutory holidays or it may not say anything at all about contractual holidays or statutory holidays. In these cases your employer can:
ask you to work bank or public holidays, or
give you some, or all, of these days off without paying you for them. In this case, you won’t lose your right to full statutory holiday at some other point with the leave year, or
give you some, or all, of these days off with pay but ask you to count them towards your statutory holiday entitlement, or
a mixture of all of these
In England and Wales, there are 8 bank and public holidays per year. If you are expected to take bank and public holidays off, and you are paid for them, then these days will be deducted from your total holiday entitlement of 28 days.
In Scotland, there are 9 bank and public holidays per year. If you are expected to take bank and public holidays off, and you are paid for them, then these days will be deducted from your total holiday entitlement of 28 days.In Northern Ireland, there are 10 bank and public holidays per year. If you are expected to take bank and public holidays off, and you are paid for them, then these days will be deducted from your total holiday entitlement of 28 days.If you are a shop-worker in England and Wales, working in a large shop (over 280 square feet), then there are special rules which apply to you. You must be given Christmas Day off, regardless of which day this falls on, however your employer decides whether or not you are paid for this in your contract of employment.
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