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Legal News | 26.02.24

Holiday Entitlement

Holiday entitlement - Corporate & Commercial - Wansbroughs LLP

It’s safe to say that for most people their holidays are the highlight of the year; relaxing on the beach or enjoying the view of the snowy mountains, all whilst being paid.

While at first glance the rights surrounding annual leave, and specifically holiday pay, appear to be simple, the devil is in the details. We will be exploring holiday entitlement and holiday pay over the next few articles, this is to consider the implications of the Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2023 (ER Regulations) which came into effect on 1 January 2024.

What is statutory holiday entitlement? 

The main statutory rules on holiday rights are contained within the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) for workers and employees in England and Wales.

Since 1 October 1998, the statutory minimum entitlement to paid annual leave is 5.6 weeks of paid holiday in any leave year. This is equivalent to 28 days of holiday for those workers and employees who work full-time. If the individual works part-time this is reduced pro rata in accordance with the number of days or hours worked per week.

The WTR splits this entitlement into, one entitlement of 4 weeks; and the second of 1.6 weeks. That being 20 days plus 8 bank holidays. There has been case law which looks to have a composite pot of both entitlements, ‘if and in so far as it is not practicable to distinguish between different types of leave.’ The ER Regulations make a clear policy choice that these are two distinct pots.

What is a leave year?

A leave year commences on the date set out in the relevant contract. It is usual for the individual worker’s or employee’s contract to state, ‘The holiday year runs from 1 January until 31 December’ or similar terminology. If this is not included in the contract, the leave year will start from the date the worker or employee started work, for those engaged after 1 October 1998.

Where the individual is engaged part-way through the leave year, holiday entitlement is calculated on a pro rata basis, in proportion to the amount of leave year that remains.

Are there exclusions?

There are groups of workers which are excluded from the WTR. These include, but are not limited to seafarers, those who work in civil aviation, police, armed forces, and emergency services.

What does the contract say?

This article concentrates on statutory entitlement. Employers, workers, and employees should review their contracts to understand if there is enhanced entitlement within the written terms. For all those engaged after 6 April 2020, it is a requirement that their written statement of the particulars includes details of holiday entitlement, including public holidays and holiday pay.

The next articles in the series will consider holiday pay. If you would like more specific employment advice, or if you have any other queries, then please get in touch with your usual contact at Wansbroughs LLP or email commercial@wansbroughs.com.


Posted By Our Corporate & Commercial Team