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Holiday Pay - Working on Weekly and Public Holidays

Holiday Pay
Almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ (28 days) paid holiday per year (known as statutory leave entitlement or annual leave). Most workers who work a 5-day week must receive 28 days’ paid annual leave per year. This is calculated by multiplying a normal working week (5 days) by the annual entitlement of 5.6 weeks. Statutory paid holiday entitlement is limited to 28 days. Staff working 6 days a week are only entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday and not 33.6 days (5.6 multiplied by 6). Workers do not have a statutory right to paid leave on bank and public holidays. If paid leave is given on a bank or public holiday, this can count towards the 5.6 weeks minimum holiday entitlement. However, many employers will provide paid leave on bank and public holidays in addition to the worker’s annual leave entitlement. During the term of annual leave, workers are paid at their weekly rate of pay for the days of annual leave.

Workers can take annual leave in instalments/parts however the leave must be taken in the year it became due (i.e. it can’t be carried over to next year) and worker may not accept a payment in lieu of leave except in the case of employment termination.
(Section 13 & 13-A, 15, 16 & 18 of Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended by 2007 Amendment Regulations)

Pay Public Holidays
Employees in UK are entitled to public holiday benefits for the following eight public holidays: New Year’s Day (1st Jan), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May Bank holiday, Spring Bank holiday, Summer Bank holiday, Christmas Day (25 Dec) and Boxing Day. Bank holidays are holidays when banks and many other businesses are closed for the day. However public holidays are also referred to as bank holidays, with the two terms often used interchangeably. Bank holidays are legally known to observe closures of bank and financial institutions. Even though all banks are closed on official bank holidays, many shops remain open. Workers don’t have an automatic right to paid leave on bank and public holidays in the UK. It is employer's choice to include public holiday in entitled annual leave or provide it in addition to annual leave. (

Weekly Rest Day
Workers have the right to an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work each week, or 48 hours each fortnight. A worker’s employment contract may say they’re entitled to more or different rights to breaks from work. An employer should give an employee enough breaks to make sure their health and safety isn’t at risk if that work is ‘monotonous’ (e.g. work on a production line). Domestic workers in a private house (eg a cleaner or au pair) aren’t entitled to rest breaks for health and safety reasons. (section 11 & 23 of the Working Time Regulations 1998;

Compensatory Holidays - Rest Days
When a worker is required to work during a period which would otherwise be a rest period or rest break, the worker is entitled wherever possible to take an equivalent period of compensatory rest. In exceptional circumstances when this is not possible, the worker is afforded such protection as appropriate in order to safeguard the worker’s health and safety. Compensatory rest breaks are of the same length as the break (or part of it) that the workers have missed.

A worker is entitled to compensatory rest if he/she is involved in following occupations/activities:

- shift workers who can’t take daily or weekly rest breaks

- workplace based in a far-off place (e.g. an oil rig)

- working in two different workplace with considerable distance between them

- involved in security and surveillance-based work

- involved in seasonal industries – like agriculture, retail, postal services or tourism

- workers forced to work due to an exceptional event, force majeure, or accident happened or about to happen

- Medical staff where round-the-clock staffing is required

- workers in rail industry

- workers who working day is split up (a cleaner who works for part of the morning and the evening)

- there is an agreement between management, trade unions or the workforce (a ‘collective’ or ‘workforce’ agreement) that has changed or removed rights to these rest breaks for a group of workers

The total rest entitlement for a week is 90 hours a week on average (11 hours daily rest breaks + 24 hours weekly rest period) - this doesn’t include breaks at work, which are additional. (

Weekend and Public Holiday Work Compensation
There is no provision in the legislation which requires the employer to pay a higher rate to the workers employed on weekly rest days and public/bank holidays.  Employers only have to pay staff a higher rate for working on Sundays if the contract says so. (

Regulations on Annual Leave, Working on Weekly and Public Holidays

Employment Rights Act (ERA), 1996 last amended in 2012

Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended by 2007 Amendment Regulations)

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