Holidays and holiday pay

All employees are entitled to an annual holiday or corresponding leave of absence.

The leave-earning year begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March, and the basic rule is that an employee who works for at least 35 hours or on 14 days in any month will earn 2 days of annual holiday for that working month. This increases to 2.5 days of annual holiday earned per month after the employment has continued for one full leave-earning year. Days of absence for acceptable reasons, such as illness, also count when reckoning annual leave entitlement. Holidays are normally taken during the summer and winter holiday periods that follow the end of the leave-earning year.

The employee will be paid for the annual holiday period. Hourly-paid employees who have worked for at least 35 hours per month are entitled to holiday pay amounting to 9 per cent of their gross earnings, increasing to 11.5 per cent after the job has continued for one year. Hourly-paid employees who have worked for at least 14 days per month receive holiday pay reckoned as a specific proportion of their average gross earnings. Employees on a regular monthly salary continue to collect this salary during the holiday period.

A separate holiday bonus – generally amounting to half of the wages for the annual holiday – may also be paid under the collective agreement.

Employees receive financial compensation for any outstanding annual holiday that cannot be taken before the employment ends, for example when a temporary summer job ends and some days of annual holiday have not been taken. This holiday compensation is reckoned in the same way as annual holiday pay.

Outstanding annual holiday pay, holiday compensation and holiday bonus may be claimed for up to two years after the employment ends. Holiday compensation and holiday bonus are normal taxable income that are included when reckoning income tax and applying for allowances such as student grants and housing benefit.