Holiday entitlement

1 . How much holiday you should get

You have the right to paid holiday ('statutory annual leave') whether you work:

  • full time
  • part time
  • under a zero-hours contract

The amount of days you get depends on:

  • how many days or hours you work
  • any extra agreements you have with your employer

You accrue (build up) holiday from the day you start working, including when you're on:

  • a probationary period
  • sick leave
  • maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave

It might be written in the contract that you get more than statutory holiday entitlement. This can be called 'enhanced' or 'contractual' holiday entitlement.

Find out more about employment contracts

Statutory paid holiday

By law, you're entitled to 5.6 weeks' statutory paid holiday a year. Bank holidays might be included in this paid holiday – check your contract if you're not sure.

The amount of time off you get depends on your circumstances.

For example, to work out what your holiday entitlement is in days, multiply the number of days you work each week by 5.6. If you work 5 days a week, your statutory paid holiday is 28 days (5 x 5.6) a year.

Statutory paid holiday is limited to 28 days. For example, if you work 6 days a week you're still only entitled to 28 days' paid holiday.

Part time

If you work part time, you're still entitled to 5.6 weeks' statutory paid holiday, just in proportion to the hours you work. This is because part-time workers cannot be treated less favourably than full-time workers.

For example, if you work 3 days a week, you're entitled to 16.8 days' paid holiday (3 x 5.6) a year.

If your employer gives full-time employees more paid holiday than the legal minimum (for example, 6 weeks), then part-time employees must get the same.

Shift, term-time and zero-hours workers with ongoing contracts

You must still get 5.6 weeks' paid holiday as a minimum if you work irregular hours with an ongoing employment contract. This can include:

  • shift work, for example working a shift pattern of 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off
  • term-time work, for example working 39 weeks a year during school term-time but being employed for the whole year
  • zero-hours contracts, for example working some weeks but having the contract remain in place in the weeks where no work is carried out

This type of work is sometimes called part-year work.

Your holiday entitlement should not be affected by how many weeks you actually work in a year. This is because the employment contract is in place for the whole year.

Important: For leave years starting on or after 1 April 2024, irregular hours workers and part-year workers will accrue holiday differently. Find out more about holiday pay and entitlement reforms on GOV.UK.

If you're employed for less than a year

You're entitled to a proportion of a full year's holiday entitlement if your employment contract:

  • lasts for less than a year
  • ends part way through a holiday year

Your holiday entitlement will be based on the length of time your employment contract lasted, rather than the number of weeks you actually worked.

For example, if you're a zero-hours worker hired on an employment contract for 6 months, you're entitled to 2.8 weeks' holiday, even if you did not work every week during the employment contract.

If you're self-employed

If you're self-employed, you're not usually entitled to paid holiday. However, this could depend if you've been employed on a contract. If you're getting work through an agency, you might have a different employment status and rights for the duration of the contract.

Find out more about employment rights when you're self-employed

Holiday that's less than a full day

If your holiday entitlement includes 'part days' — for example, 11.2 days because you work 2 days a week — you'll need to ask your employer how to use the part day.

Employers cannot round down part days. But they also do not have to round them up to the nearest full day, unless they choose to.

For example, you could leave early or come in late to use the part day, if you agree this with your employer.

Holiday calculator

You can work out how much holiday you should get with the holiday calculator on GOV.UK.

Maternity and other parental leave

You still accrue your holiday entitlement while on:

  • maternity leave
  • paternity leave
  • adoption leave
  • shared parental leave
  • ordinary parental leave
  • parental bereavement leave

When you know you're going to be taking parental leave, you should agree with your employer:

  • how much paid holiday you'll accrue before and during your planned parental leave
  • when you're going to take your accrued holiday
  • how much you can carry over, if appropriate
  • if you have contractual holiday entitlement, whether you can get payment in lieu of taking the days that are additional to statutory

If you're not sure how much holiday you should get

If you're still not sure what your holiday entitlement is, you can:

Contact the Acas helpline

If you have any questions about holiday entitlement, you can contact the Acas helpline.