You’re entitled to paid holiday (known as annual leave or statutory leave entitlement) if you work – whether you work full time, part time, or on a ‘zero-hours’ contract.
The amount you get depends on how many days or hours you work and what arrangement you have with your employer.
You build up (‘accrue’) holiday from the day you start working – even during a probationary period and when you’re off sick, on maternity, paternity or adoption leave.
Your employer can restrict when you can take your leave.
Your employer can choose to give you more holiday than your statutory entitlement. Look in your contract or ‘written statement of employment particulars’ to find out how much holiday you’ll get.
As someone who works 5 (or more) days a week you’re usually entitled to 5.6 weeks (28 days) paid holiday per year. Your employer can choose to give more leave than the legal minimum.
You’re entitled to at least 5.6 weeks holiday pro-rata (in proportion to the hours you worked) if you work part time. Your holiday entitlement will be how many days you work multiplied by 5.6.
For example, if you work 3 days a week you’re entitled to 16.8 days’ leave (3 x 5.6).
If you work irregular days or hours for example, shift work, term-time work or work on a zero hours contract, you may need to use the holiday entitlement calculator on GOV.UK to work out how much holiday you should get.
Calculate your holiday entitlement
You can use the holiday entitlement calculator on GOV.UK to work out how much holiday you should get.
Your calculation can be based on:
- days or hours worked per week
- casual or irregular hours
- annualised hours – where you work a certain number of hours across the year but have some flexibility around which hours
- compressed hours – working full-time hours over fewer days
If you think you're not getting as much holiday as you're entitled to you can raise the issue with your employer.
Part days' leave
If you have part days’ leave, for example 16.8 days, your employer may agree to:
- let you leave work early or come in late
- round up to the nearest full day (it can’t be rounded down)
- pay you for the part day
- carry it over to the next leave year
Limits on statutory leave
Even if you work more than 5 days a week your statutory entitlement is only 28 days. Your employer could choose to give you more.
The holiday ‘leave year’
Your company will have a start and end date when you should take your holiday by – the ‘leave year’. You should be told the company’s leave year when you start working.
If the leave year isn’t set out in your contract it will start on the first day of a new job, or on 1 October (if started on or before 1 October 1998).
You must take most of your statutory leave during the leave year.
Carrying over leave
You don’t have the automatic right to ‘carry over’ (take in the next leave year) any holiday you haven’t taken.
But an employer can agree to let you carry over any leave over 4 weeks. For example, if you work 5 days a week and get 28 days’ leave you may be able to carry over 8 (with the agreement of your employer).
Your contract will say how much leave you can carry over.
Holiday when starting a job
If you start part-way through a leave year, you’re only entitled to part of your total annual leave for that year. How much leave you get depends on how often you work and how much of the leave year is left.
Leave in the first year
In the first year of your job your employer can use an ‘accrual system’ to work out your leave. For example, you’ll build up one twelfth of your leave each month, so that by the start of the third month you’ll be entitled to a quarter of your annual leave.
Holiday when you’re leaving a job
You may be able to take what’s left of your annual leave during your notice period before leaving a job.
How much you get depends on how far through the leave year you are when stop working. You can use the holiday entitlement calculator on GOV.UK to work this out.
Getting paid for untaken holiday
Your employer must pay you for any statutory holiday that you haven’t taken when you leave. This is known as ‘payment in lieu’.
Taking more leave than your entitlement
If you’ve taken more holiday than your entitlement when your job ends, your employer can take money from your final pay if agreed beforehand in writing. This is sometimes known as a ‘clawback clause’.
This is our beta website. Pages are being tested and improved. You can view the archived version of this advice on The National Archives website.