Statutory Holiday Entitlement in the UK

  • Leave and Absence
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

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By law, employers must provide their employees with annual leave. However, calculating entitlement and pay can be difficult. Peninsula explains how to do so.

Employees and employers in the UK may not understand how much holiday time they have to take. This issue can cause unnecessary confusion and missed time off that is duly deserved.

Without taking the appropriate amount of time off, employees may begin to feel overworked and stressed.

Not only can this make employees unproductive and prone to leaving a company, but it can also cause legal issues for employers.

If employees feel that they aren’t aware of their entitled time off or aren't given annual leave, they will be within their rights to:

  • Pursue formal procedures. These include raising grievances and appeal processes depending on the results
  • Investigate mediation, conciliation and arbitration services

Naturally, employers will wish to avoid these outcomes. This is why understanding holiday entitlement in the UK is so important.

Legal holiday entitlement in the UK

By law, employers must provide their employees with paid Failure to do so may merit the employee to raise complaints, which can lead to employment tribunals.

The standard holiday entitlement in the UK can include bank holiday entitlement

This also applies to the minimum holiday entitlement in the UK, which is 28 days paid days off. There is a minimum right to paid holiday, but an employer may offer more than this. The employer may do this to reduce employee burnout, increase job satisfaction or make their company appealing to candidates.

Types of employee holiday entitlement

Naturally, there are many different types of employment. This raises questions about the minimum holiday entitlement for each. This also includes how to calculate holiday entitlement.

Part-time holiday entitlement

You calculate holiday entitlement for part-time workers by the number of days they work a week times 5.6.

The minimum statutory entitlement of part-time employees or workers is based on the time that they work. So, a part-time employee who works 2.5 days per week is entitled to 14 days' paid holiday per year or 2.8 weeks including public holidays. 

Holiday entitlement during furlough

Employees may build-up, or accrue, holiday leave and take annual leave while This when the furlough is due to the coronavirus pandemic. Employers must also pay furloughed employees for bank holidays, taking them as paid holidays. 

The employee and employer can either agree to take these bank holidays during their furlough on the bank holiday itself or to take them on a later date.

However, an employer must give the employee at least two days’ notice if they want them to take a bank holiday as paid leave.

Holiday entitlement during paternity leave

Employees may still request holiday leave throughout maternity leave. This includes paternity and adoption leave, as well as ordinary and additional leave.

Employees requesting holiday leave during these leaves may do so if an employer states they must use them. Employers can allow employees to accrue their holiday leave and use it at a later date. Employees should not be denied their holidays due to maternity leave and should be afforded opportunity to take them when their leave comes to an end 

Zero hour contract holiday entitlement

Zero-hour contract employees have the same annual holiday entitlement, which is to say they have 5.6 weeks of paid leave a year. 

This means calculating their average occurs on a monthly basis and often takes hours worked into calculations, rather than days.

Holiday entitlement pro rata

Pro-rata holiday entitlement is holiday leave calculated in proportion to the usual entitlement of an average part-time employee. 

With pro-rata, an employee’s hours or days will compare to those of a full-time employee’s working hours. These calculations will then determine how much annual leave the employee gains. 

Holiday pay entitlement

An employee should receive the same amount of pay for annual leave as their working day. This should always apply, but calculating this can get tricky

Holiday pay calculations should take an employee’s working pattern into account. This can include: 

  • How many days or hours worked per week
  • Whether they work casual or irregular hours
  • Any regular shifts or shift patterns

For fixed hour shifts and working weeks, these patterns are easier to calculate for holiday pay.

For example, if an employee regularly works a 37.5 hour working week and makes an average of £500 per week, each week of holiday pay should be £500. Similarly, if this employee only takes one day of leave, they should gain holiday pay of £100.

In the event of no fixed hour shifts, the employer should calculate an average. Employers can establish this average by using monthly hours or annual hours. You should calculate pay by averaging weekly earnings over the past 52 weeks, or however long they have worked for you if shorter time

There are other elements to consider when calculating holiday pay. Some of these may apply more to some contracts than others, for example, a salesman’s salary.

These elements include:

  • Overtime, bonuses or commissions
  • Any accrued holiday days
  • The duration of employment with an employer

This latter point can help to calculate holiday pay if there is any confusion. For example, it can help to establish the average pay of an employee on shifts.

Need help with holiday and annual leave?

It can be difficult and confusing calculating holiday entitlement and holiday pay. To avoid any mistakes, you can get in touch with Peninsula.

Our 24-hour HR advice helps address any confusion at any time, while our team of experts are available to contact for specific enquiries. Call us today on 0800 028 2420.

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