Bank holidays and Christmas
Your employer does not have to give you time off on a bank or public holiday or at Christmas if they're not included in your holiday entitlement. This is the same whether you work full time or part time.
Check your employment contract to find out if bank holidays are included in your paid holiday entitlement.
Check which days are bank holidays on GOV.UK.
You should arrange your holiday dates with your employer as early as possible.
Your employer should:
- tell you the organisation's rules for bank holidays, especially if you're new, or you're changing from full-time work to part-time or shift work
- regularly discuss with you how upcoming business closures or busy periods might affect holidays you plan to take
If your employer changes when they open or close
Your employer has the right to make changes to when you take holiday if they need to.
For example, they can decide to shut over Christmas and force their employees to take their paid holiday, even if in previous years the business was open over Christmas.
If your employer needs you to take holiday, they should tell you at least twice as many days before as the amount of days they need you to take.
For example, if they need you to take 2 days of holiday, they should tell you at least 4 days before.
Before making a change to the way staff take holidays, your employer might need to consider whether there has been custom and practice.
If your employer is making significant, long-term changes, for example to the amount of holiday days or pay they give, they must follow the process for changing an employment contract.
If a bank holiday is on a day you usually work
If a bank holiday falls on a day you usually work, and the workplace is shut or business stops on that day, your employer can make you take it as part of your holiday entitlement.
Your employer must either:
- make this clear in your employment contract
- give you notice that the day needs to be taken as part of your holiday entitlement
If you do not want to be off work on a bank holiday
If a bank holiday falls on a day you usually work and you do not want to take the day off, you could ask your employer if you can work the bank holiday and take another day off instead.
This is taking a day's holiday 'in lieu'. Your employer does not have to agree to this.
You can only get paid in lieu of bank holidays if they're part of untaken holiday entitlement when you leave your job.
If you work on a bank holiday, you must still get your full 5.6 weeks of statutory annual leave as paid time off.
If a bank holiday is on a day you do not usually work
If a bank holiday is on a day you do not usually work, your employer cannot make you use that day as part of your holiday entitlement.
Bank holidays if you're on sick leave or maternity leave
If they're included in your holiday entitlement, you still build up paid days off for bank holidays while on:
- sick leave
- maternity leave
- paternity leave
- adoption leave
- shared parental leave
- ordinary parental leave
- parental bereavement leave
Contact the Acas helpline
There are many circumstances that can affect your holiday entitlement. For more advice, contact the Acas helpline.