September 2, 2014

Employment Law – How much holiday should you get?

This post was written by: Ilinca Mardarescu

Holiday entitlement; an opportunity to swap the glow of your computer monitor, for the sun on a lovely beach holiday in the Med. Alternatively it can give you a chance to catch up with the more casual side of your life, or simply take that much needed break. However you choose to spend your time away from work, are you receiving enough holiday entitlement? And are you being paid correctly during this time off? Continue reading to find out what the law states on this entitlement, and how it can differ between companies.

Firstly, employers have to consider the amount of hours you work, and the type of contract you are on before making a judgement on how much entitlement you receive. Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ worth of paid holiday per year.

This is made up of an entitlement to four weeks of holiday under the Working Time Directive 2003/88/EC, and an additional 1.6 weeks under the Working Time Regulations 1998.

If you work a 5 day week, this equates to 28 days paid working days’ worth of leave per year, this figure being calculated by multiplying 5.6 weeks’ worth of paid holiday by the normal working week of 5 days. However, someone working part-time, for example 3 days a week would be entitled to 16.8 days of annual paid leave, calculated by multiplying  3 by 5.6. The amount of days a week you work is proportionate to the amount of holiday entitlement you will receive. The pay you will receive for both part time and full time work, is the same amount that you would receive in a standard working week, as long as you still have holiday entitlement.

It is relatively easy to calculate the holiday entitlement of a worker who works a fixed set of hours, however it can be trickier to work out the entitlement of an employee who works irregularly or without fixed hours. This is calculated by taking into account the average pay earned by an individual per week, over the last 12 weeks. To work out your holiday entitlement in hours for your irregular work, there is a handy government online calculator (


How does the UK stand when it comes to annual leave?


Time off UK v US

In the UK, the law states that we are entitled to paid annual leave, relative to the hours we work. This can be contrasted with America, where citizens receive around 6 days paid annual leave on average, in the absence of any laws providing them with paid days off. Some companies in the US don’t provide their employees with any annual leave at all!

A stark comparison can be drawn with France where the law states that employees are to be given at least 30 days paid annual leave, with many companies even offering around 50 days.

Within the UK, various jobs provide different amounts of annual leave. For example, teachers can receive up to 13 weeks paid holiday a year. Due to the nature of the school term, teacher’s benefit from long breaks in the year, with 6 week long summer holidays, although many teachers work during this time reporting that they work around 57 hours a week. In contrast, doctors nearly always receive the minimum required paid annual leave.

This is just a brief summary of the law regarding annual leave, and some examples of how it can differ. The site can offer further insight into the UK law regarding employment and annual leave, and this can be found by clicking here: (


Aston Bond can assist you with any employment issues or queries you may have, give us a call on 01753 486 777 to speak to one of our specialist solicitors. 


Joel Chapman, Marketing

Read another one of our blogs: What rest breaks are you entitled to at work?