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Blog  »  June 2017  »  Holiday Leave Entitlements - Blog
Jun 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

Holiday Leave Entitlements

The launch of Labour’s manifesto came with a surprise proposal to increase the public holidays to 12.

If elected, Labour would introduce 4 new public holidays – bringing England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland together to mark all 4 national patron saints’ days. These would be additional to the current statutory holiday entitlement so that “workers in Britain get the same proper breaks as in other countries”. This would mean the statutory holiday entitlement for a full-time worker would increase from 5.6 weeks per year to 6.4.

This proposal along with the time of year we’re heading into makes holidays in general a very topical issue at the moment, so let’s take a look at holiday entitlement and pay:


Employees’ holiday rights start on the first day of their employment.

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, workers (including part-timers and most agency and freelance workers) have the right to:

  • 5.6 Weeks’ paid leave each year, this equates to 28 days for full-time employees
  • Payment for untaken statutory leave entitlement on termination of employment

Part-time employees are entitled to the same holidays as full-time workers, calculated on a pro-rata basis.

In addition, employers may choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave.


The EU Court of Justice has ruled that holiday pay should not be based on basic pay alone - there must be no financial disincentive for an employee to take annual leave. Holiday pay must be the employee’s normal rate of pay and should include;

  • Any regular shift allowance should be included.
  • Commission: if there is a regular commission structure in place this should be included in holiday pay calculations.
  • Overtime: If the employment contract stipulates that an employee must work a set amount of overtime each week then this is included in pay calculations. Regularly worked overtime, although not necessarily included in the contract of employment, should also be included. Irregular overtime should not be included. 

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