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Holidays - what are my rights?

We are often asked about holiday rights, here are our top five most frequently asked holiday questions.

How much holiday am I entitled to?

Full time workers who work a five day week are entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday leave each year.  This amounts to 28 days’ paid annual leave per annum.

What if I work part time?

Part time workers are also entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday each year, but the usual 28 days are reduced on a pro rata basis depending on how many days worked each week.

The easiest way of making the calculation is to take the number of days worked each week and multiply by 5.6. 

The same does not apply if you work a more-than-five-day week.  If you work a six day week, the statutory minimum holiday entitlement remains the same.  It is though open to employers to allow a longer holiday entitlement in your employment contract.

Am I entitled to paid leave on bank holidays?

Bank holidays can be included in the 5.6 weeks’ statutory leave and clients are often surprised that there is no statutory right to be paid for bank holidays. 

However, you also need to check the wording of your employment contract.  Some contracts will say that the holiday allowance includes the usual bank holidays and others will say that the holiday entitlement is in addition to the usual bank holidays.

I have a dentist appointment; my employer is making me take it as holiday, is he allowed to do that?

It depends.  There is no right to be paid for time off for doctors or dentist appointments, so if you would prefer to be paid you may need to take time off for appointments as holiday. 

This is subject to whether your contract says something different. Your employer needs to be consistent and apply any rules fairly so if he usually allows employees paid time off to attend appointments there may be an argument that to do otherwise would be inconsistent but there is no general right to be paid for these appointments.

My employer intends to shut the office for 2 weeks at Christmas and tells us that we must take our holiday, is this allowed?


Again, it depends on your contract, but the short answer generally is yes.

Your contract may well have a clause which allows your employer to enforce a period of holiday.  Otherwise, the Working Time Regulations do allow an employer to give notice ordering a worker to take statutory holiday on specified dates.  The notice period must be at least twice the length of the period of leave that the worker is being ordered to take.

If you think your employer has treated you unfairly or broken the law and would like advice contact Amanda Finn, Partner at Gullands Solicitors, Maidstone by email: or phone 01622 689795.