Holiday pay

In the UK, most workers are legally entitled to paid holidays/annual leave, as outlined in our employment law section. In this section we look at the rules in more detail and explain how to calculate and pay holiday pay.

Basic information
What if my PA doesn’t work full time?
How do I deal with bank holidays?
Booking leave
What happens with holiday if my PA is off sick or on parental leave?
How much should I pay my PA when they take leave?
More information

Basic information

As outlined in our employment law section a worker's statutory paid holiday entitlement is 5.6 weeks – this equates to 28 days for a worker working a five day week. The 5.6 weeks is a minimum entitlement – you can choose to offer more. You must set out an employee's paid holiday entitlement in their written statement of terms and conditions of employment.

The genuinely self-employed do not have the right to benefit from the minimum paid holiday entitlement – they can take as little or as much holiday as they choose. However, like the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage, those that are considered ‘workers’ for employment law purposes do – see our section on the minimum wage for more information on ‘workers’.

A worker's entitlement to paid annual leave starts on the first day of employment and is not subject to a minimum period of employment.

Employers are allowed to operate a holiday accrual system for workers who are in their first year of employment. In practice this means that a new worker will accrue one twelfth of their annual holiday entitlement each month they are employed. This will apply from the start of each month. So, if you take on a new full time PA on the 1st June 2016, after three months work, they will have accrued 7 days leave.

There is an entitlement to accrued holiday pay for leave untaken on termination of employment.

Back to top

What if my PA doesn’t work full time?

The entitlement for part-time workers is calculated on a pro-rata basis. So if a member of staff works three days a week, they are entitled to 16.8 days (28 days x 3/5).

Days your PA works a week Days holiday they are entitled to
1 5.6
2 11.2
3 16.8
4 22.4
5 28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where calculations result in part days, e.g. 16.8 days, it may be easier to round the entitlement up to the nearest full day or half day, if this is easier for you to administer (you cannot round it down). Alternatively, you could work the holiday out in hours, so in the case above, 0.8 of a day for someone working an eight hour day, is 6 hours and 24 minutes – you could ask your worker to come in one day to help you with something quickly in the morning and then take the rest of the day off.

If a member of staff works on a casual basis or very irregular hours, it is often easiest to calculate holiday entitlement on the basis of hours worked.

The holiday entitlement of 5.6 weeks is equivalent to 12.07 per cent of hours worked over a year.

Example: Mary works 17 hours one week, 20 hours the next week, and then 15 hours for next two weeks. After a month of working, she would like to take some time off. She has accrued approximately 8 hours of paid leave (67 hours @ 12.07%) and can agree a suitable time with you to take them off. When she takes them, you would pay her normal hourly wage.

Back to top

How do I deal with bank holidays?

Contrary to popular belief you do not legally have to give staff paid time off for bank and public holidays. However, you or your PA may choose to include bank holidays as part of their holiday entitlement.

If you have a full time worker, who takes all the bank and public holidays off (typically 8 a year), this leaves them with 20 days' annual leave. 

Back to top

Booking leave

Workers must give you notice that they wish to take leave. You should agree the notice period with your worker and set this out in writing. If there is no agreement in place, they must give notice of at least twice the length of the intended leave period.

Given the nature of the work, you might want to ask your PA to tell you in good time in advance of them wanting to take leave as this will give you time to arrange cover for their absence. Please note that although you can refuse to grant leave at certain times, for example if it is not a convenient time for you, you cannot refuse to let your PA take the leave at all.

Employers can set times that workers are required to take leave. For example, you could tell your PA that they must take two weeks annual leave in the summer when you normally take your two weeks' holiday.

If you don't have an agreement for taking leave and you want workers to take all or part of their holiday entitlement on certain dates, you must give notice of at least twice as long as the leave period.

Back to top

What happens with holiday if my PA is off sick or on parental leave?

Employees taking statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and parental leave will continue to accrue paid holiday. They will also build up holiday entitlement while off work sick.

Back to top

How much should I pay my PA when they take leave?

If your worker has fixed hours and pay, they should be paid the same rate while they are on holiday as they are normally paid in their job. For example if they usually get paid £280 for a weeks work, they will still be paid £280 when they take a week off.  If they only take a day off, they will be paid £56.

The payment will be due at the same time as your employee’s normal wages (e.g. weekly/monthly) and will be treated as earnings for PAYE tax and NIC purposes.

If your worker’s pay or hours of work vary from week to week, the amount they will get will be based on the average amount they earned in the past 12 weeks.

Please note that workers must receive their statutory holiday pay at the time that leave is actually taken. It is unlawful to not pay a worker while they are on holiday and pay them an extra amount as part of their wages or salary instead - a system known as rolled-up holiday pay.

Back to top

More information

You can find basic information on holiday leave and pay on GOV.UK. There is also a tool on GOV.UK to help employers calculate their worker’s holiday entitlement.

There is lots of information about holiday entitlement on the ACAS website

Please be aware that disagreements and disputes over holidays and holiday pay are very common and can lead to things like a deterioration in your relationship with your PA or an increase in their sick leave. As such, you should make sure you try and understand the rules around their entitlements as far as possible and also set out your expectations around things like giving sufficient notice of leave clearly (ideally in writing), so you can avoid any problems later down the line.

Back to top