Holiday is one of the few employment benefits enjoyed by almost all workers in the UK.

The right to paid time off for holiday accrues in almost all circumstances, and paid holiday features in full time, part time and even temporary contracts.

In the UK, the legal requirement for holiday entitlement is 28 days’ paid annual leave per annum, for anyone who works a full-time, five day per week job. This entitlement is easily calculated by multiplying the number of working days in a normal week, by the annual entitlement of 5.6 weeks.

5 days x 5.6 = 28 days’ paid holiday

The same calculation can be used for workers who work part time. If a part-time worker works three days per week, typically, then their annual UK holiday entitlement will be:

3 days x 5.6 = 16.8 days’ paid holiday

For people who work irregular amounts or part-time, or full-time work, then holiday needs to be calculated based on time actually worked, which can be more complicated.

The maximum amount, however, is 28 days’ paid holiday, so workers who work overtime are not automatically entitled to more holiday, although the individual employer can increase a holiday entitlement at their discretion.

Do I have to take all my annual leave?

Although workers are entitled to paid annual leave, this does not mean that they have to take their leave entitlement.

Many workers are unable or do not wish to take leave, and in such circumstances an employer will usually offer to convert paid leave into additional pay, or to carry leave over into a subsequent year.

Some workers who have to take time off for sick leave may also choose to convert that time, which may be unpaid, into paid leave, in order to ensure their wages are not affected by sickness. Again this would be at the employer’s discretion.

What if my employer denies me paid leave?

Paid leave is a legal right for workers in the UK. If your employer denies you paid leave this would amount to a breach of contract, and could technically give rise to a constructive dismissal if you were to leave your job.

In such circumstances you should always talk to your employer first, either informally or using the company’s formal grievance procedure. You should also seek legal advice from an employment lawyer to ensure you are well represented as you follow through your grievance.