Written by: Cally Worden
All full and part-time workers with a standard employment contract have a statutory right to a minimum amount of paid time off for holidays. Here is what you need to know to make sure you’re getting what’s due to you:
The basic holiday entitlement is 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave. If you typically work 5 days a week, this equates to 28 days of paid holiday every year. Many employers offer more than this, with some adding additional days to your entitlement based on the number of years you have worked for a company. Other things you need to know include:
- Part-time workers are entitled to the same amount of holidays calculated in a pro-rata basis against the number of hours worked. Someone working 4 days a week, for example, would be entitled to 22.4 days of paid leave
- You should receive your normal rate of pay for any days of annual leave that you take
- If you leave job and have accrued days of annual leave that you have not yet used, you should be paid for these days in your final pay packet
- Your holiday entitlement starts to build up from the first day you start work
- Your employer can control when you take your holiday days
- Employers can elect to include public holidays and Bank Holidays within your statutory entitlement
- Your holiday entitlement continues during periods of maternity, paternity and adoption leave
Individuals who are self-employed have no right to paid annual leave.
Additional Contractual Rights
As a way to entice workers into employment many companies offer additional holiday days. It is not uncommon for an employer to offer the 28 statutory days to workers in addition to Bank and Public Holidays. Employment contracts may provide for any unused holidays by allowing you to carry them over into the next year, or by paying you for them. Some employers also make provision within their contracts for the granting of discretionary unpaid leave, but they have no obligation to do so.
Public and Bank Holidays
You have no statutory right to demand Bank Holidays or Public Holidays off. Employers have a right to include them in your basic 5.6 weeks allowance. It is important that you check your employment contract to see if this applies to you. In the past many employers, particularly in the retail industry, offered enhanced rates of pay for Public and Bank Holidays, but this practice is now not common. If an employer offers full time workers Public or Bank Holidays off in addition to their statutory entitlement, then part-time workers have a right to the same, pro-rata in accordance with the amount of days they work.
How to Deal with Problems
If you feel that your employer is treating you unfairly you have a right to challenge their actions. In the first instance it is advisable to raise the issue with your line manager or via your company’s Human Resources department. If you are part of a Trade Union, then they will also be able to assist. Your employer may have an established complaints procedure in place – if so, it is important you follow this. If, having done so, you are still not satisfied, you can seek free and impartial advice from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, or the Labour Relations Agency. Approaching your employer can feel daunting, so do seek the assistance of colleagues, and if you have an employee representative whose role it is to assist in such circumstances then be sure to engage their help to guide you through the process. Statutory rights are there for your protection, so never be afraid to challenge poor practice.