The summer holidays are fast approaching and if you’ve either booked already, or haven’t booked but are about to, have you got enough holiday days left over? If you have, that’s good forward planning but if you haven’t, you might be in a bit of trouble trying to explain that away to your boss.

May’s blog is about letting you know what your statutory holiday and time off entitlements are but allow us to preface everything we’re about to tell you with this – ALWAYS check with your HR guys and refer to your company handbook. All companies differ when it comes to time off so it’s absolutely worth double-checking what you’re allowed and when you’re allowed it.

The Basics

As a full-time employee (five days a week), you are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks per year. In old money, that’s 28 days. If you work part-time, your entitlement is the same as a full-time employee but it is pro rata, so 5.6 times your usual working week. If you work four days a week, you get 22.4 days, for three days a week you get 16.8 days, and so on.

As soon as you start work, you start to build up your holiday entitlement but your employer can control when you take your holidays. As an example, if you work for a fireworks manufacturer, you may not be able to take holiday days in September or October, since those are likely to be your busiest months of the year. The same goes for Christmas cracker makers or Easter Egg distributors.

When you do take holiday days, you get exactly the same rate of pay as if you were at your desk. In addition, when you finish your job, you get paid out for any days you haven’t taken as part of that year’s allowance.

Each individual employer has their own rules when it comes to holiday entitlement and there are number of things you’ll need to check with them before you start making plans –

  • Some businesses give you the bank and public holidays IN ADDITION to your statutory entitlement while some don’t and you have to factor them in to your plans
  • You may not be allowed to take off more than say, two weeks in any one chunk
  • As we alluded to earlier, there may be seasonal restrictions on when you can take time off.

It’s also important to note that you remain entitled to your holiday entitlement while you’re on ordinary and any additional maternity and paternity leave as well as adoption leave.

Not to labour the point, but we do stress that in the first instance, if you do think you’re not getting what you’re entitled to, speak to your boss or your employee representative/trade union official and ask for their help.

Of course summer and winter holidays aren’t the only reasons to take time off… 

Jury Service

  • If you’re called up for jury service, your employer has to allow you time off. If they don’t, they could be in contempt of court
  • Your employer doesn’t have to pay you whilst your away but you can claim travel and food expenses from the court
  • You can defer jury service, but only once and for no more than 12 months from the original date


As an employee, you have the right to unpaid time off to deal with a spouse, parent, child or anyone living in your household as a member of the family. It’s often called ‘compassionate leave’.

Different people have different views of what an ‘emergency’ is but essentially it’s described as an unexpected or sudden problem involving someone who depends on your care or help. It could be illness, injury, childcare or issues with children at school all the way through to death.

If a situation like this arises, speak to your line manager. They are usually very understanding when it comes to family issues but don’t assume anything!

Other Reasons…!

There are plenty of other reasons you’ll need to take time off, for example sickness (which we will address more completely in a later post), travel disruption (of which we are all too familiar) and for things like public duties (you may be a school governor or a magistrate).

As always, we are here not just to secure you a great job, we are here to offer you advice and guidance across all aspects of your working life. If there’s anything you don’t understand, or you need clarification, please call us and we’ll do everything we can to help you. It’s why we do what we do.

Have a great month and we’ll see you in June.

Ben Sweeting & Michelle Scott – Directors, Asset Resourcing

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