Holiday entitlement


Almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday a year (known as statutory leave entitlement or annual leave).

This includes:  

  • agency workers 

  • workers with irregular hours 

  • workers on zero-hours contracts 

An employer can include bank holidays as part of statutory annual leave. 

Statutory annual leave entitlement  

Most workers who work a 5-day week must receive at least 28 days’ paid annual leave a year. This is the equivalent of 5.6 weeks of holiday.  

Working part-time  

Part-time workers are entitled to at least 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday, but this will amount to fewer than 28 days.  

For example, if they work 3 days a week, they must get at least 16.8 days’ leave a year (3 × 5.6).   

Irregular hours 

People working irregular hours (like shift workers or term-time workers) are entitled to paid time off for every hour they work.  

They might find it helpful to get an estimate of holiday entitlement by calculating leave based on days or hours worked in an average week.  

Limits on statutory leave  

Statutory paid holiday entitlement is limited to 28 days. For example, staff working 6 days a week are only entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday. 

Bank holidays 

Bank or public holidays do not have to be given as paid leave.  

An employer can choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave.  

Extra leave  

An employer can choose to offer more leave than the legal minimum. They do not have to apply all the rules that apply to statutory leave to the extra leave. For example, a worker might need to be employed for a certain amount of time before they become entitled to it. 

Other aspects of holiday entitlement  

Workers have the right to: 

  • get paid for leave 

  • build up (‘accrue’) holiday entitlement during maternity, paternity and adoption leave 

  • build up holiday entitlement while off work sick 

  • request holiday at the same time as sick leave 


Paid annual leave is a legal right that an employer must provide. If a worker thinks their right to leave and pay are not being met there are a number of ways to resolve the dispute

See also: 

Further information on Holiday Entitlement can be found on GOV.UK's website.