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  • Writer's pictureJohn Massey

How to count and track UK annual leave

All UK employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks (28 days) paid annual leave. How this is calculated and tracked varies depending on the working circumstances. Let’s look at some examples:


UK annual leave holiday pay

Full time employees


• Full time employees working 5 days a week are entitled to paid annual leave of at least 28 days (5.6 weeks) including bank holidays*.


*Bank holidays have become near irrelevant when calculating the annual leave. If an employee doesn’t work a bank holiday, then that’s a day of annual leave taken from their 28-day entitlement. Whilst the 28-day entitlement was derived from the tradition of 20 days (4 weeks) holiday + the usual 8 days bank holidays in the year, these days it should be thought of as 28 days regardless of bank holidays.


Part-time employees


Part-time employees (working regular hours/days) are entitled to a pro-rata of the 28-days. For example:


• An employee working a regular 3-day week would be entitled to 16.8 days paid annual leave (28 / 5 days x 3 days).


Employees working irregular / zero-hour contracts


This is perhaps the most complex of the scenarios, but thankfully UK law has given some clarification from April 2024.


Being that zero-hour contract workers have the right to accept or refuse shifts then it might feel like “they don’t need holidays; they can take time off when the like”. However, this left such employees at a disadvantage as they might not have been paid for time off work. This is solved by what the law now calls “rolled-up” holiday pay at +12.07% of hours worked in any given pay period and paid in that same period. For example:


• During a given month a zero-hours employee works three shifts totalling 21 hours: They should be paid 21 hours at their usual rate + 21 hours at 12.07% of their hourly rate for “rolled-up” holiday pay.


Rolled up holiday pay should be paid in every pay period and detailed separately on their payslip.


Tracking holidays


Each employer has the responsibility to track holidays accrued and taken. We highly recommend doing so according to calendar year to keep the calculations simple.


Accrued means that an employee that has worked from 1 January – 30 June has so far only accrued 14 days or half of their 28 days entitlement. Any holidays taken above 14 days would need repaying if the employment was terminated on 30 June.


Full time employees accrue holidays at 2.333 days per month or 1/12 of the 28-day allowance.


As is clear, accurate record keeping by the employer is a necessity.


Would you like help to pay less tax? Feel free to get in-touch or check-out our related posts 👇


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