A guide to holiday entitlement

If you employ people when you start a business you will need to consider their rights to paid time off for holidays.

Working out holiday entitlement

Most people who work for you five days a week or more are entitled to a maximum of 28 days of paid leave every year (this is calculated by multiplying a normal five-day week by their annual entitlement of 5.6 weeks).

People who work for you part time also have a right to at least 5.6 weeks of holiday every year – though as they’re part time this will probably mean they get fewer actual days off than a full time worker.

You can give your employees more paid annual leave if you wish. This extra leave doesn’t have to follow the rules of statutory annual leave.

How to calculate holiday entitlement

You can work out an employee’s holiday pay entitlement using an online calculator.

If you wish, you can include bank holidays as part of your employees’ annual paid leave.

Building up holiday entitlement

An employee starts building up their holiday entitlement as soon as they start working for you. You should let them know the dates of their statutory leave year straight away, and they must take their leave during this period.

If they start part of the way through your leave year they are entitled to the appropriate portion of their leave.

If your employee’s contract doesn’t state their statutory leave year, it will begin on the day they start working for you.

Your employees can still build up their holiday entitlement when they’re on maternity, paternity or adoption leave or when they’re off sick. They can also choose to take holiday rather than sick leave.

Carrying over holiday entitlement

Your employees don’t have the automatic right to carry any unused leave over into the next statutory leave year. However, if they work at least five days a week and it is written into their contract they can carry over up to eight days of leave out of their 28 days’ entitlement.

If they get more than 28 days of leave you can choose whether to carry over any unused days. If they can’t take leave due to sick or maternity leave, they may be able to carry some or all over.