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What Holiday Entitlement Does the Law Provide Me With?

When you enter into a contract of employment, you will automatically be bestowed with certain employee rights, including your holiday entitlement, sick leave, and maternity/paternity leave.

Holiday entitlement

Nearly all employees are entitled to annual leave. This can be calculated by multiplying the number of days you work by 5.6 weeks. Therefore if you work five days a week, you will be entitled to 28 days. You are entitled to receive full pay during your annual leave. However, there are a few other things you should know which can confuse the issue slightly:

  • Employers can choose to include bank holidays into your annual leave.
  • Statutory leave is limited to five working days; if you work six days a week, you will still only be allowed to take 28 days.
  • An employer can offer you more holiday entitlement if they choose to, although you may have to work for a certain amount of time before you become entitled to it.
  • If you start your job halfway through the year, you will only be entitled to a percentage of the remainder of the year.
  • Leave entitlements differ for agricultural workers which is decided by the Agricultural Wages Order of 2010.

Sick leave

There are two different types of sick leave: occupational sick pay and statutory sick pay. Occupational sick pay schemes will vary from employer to employer, the details of which should be included within your employment particulars. It is up to an employer how much sick pay you should receive, although this is not allowed to fall below the legal minimum of £85.85 per week.

However, an employer does not have to have an occupation sick pay scheme in place. If so you will be entitled to statutory sick pay. This entitles you to £85.85 per week for 28 weeks, although it will only start from your fourth day of sickness. Again this differs for agricultural workers who will be entitled to Agricultural Sick Pay (ASP).

Maternity/paternity leave

You are allowed to take 52 weeks of statutory maternity leave, with the earliest date this can start being 11 weeks before your due date. During these 52 weeks, you should be entitled to statutory maternity pay. For the first six weeks you will receive 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax), and for the next 33 weeks you will receive £135.45 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). If you are not entitled to statutory maternity leave for any reason, you will be able to claim maternity allowance. Fathers are also allowed to take one to two weeks paternity leave, usually starting from the day the baby is born.

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