It's that time of year again when, in search of hotter climes, visits are made to travel agents, lunch breaks are spent searching for the best deals, holiday brochures are consulted and many take time off work to enjoy a summer holiday. As such we thought it was an ideal opportunity to examine what the law actually says about holidays and what employees are entitled to.

Holiday checklist

  1. All full-time employees are entitled to 28 days holiday per year under statute. Part time employees are entitled to 28 days reduced pro-rata, according to the number of days that they work each week. An employer may provide for a more generous holiday entitlement under your contract of employment.
  2. The 28 days statutory holiday entitlement per year can include any bank holidays.
  3. Employees must give appropriate notice of any holiday request. Upon receiving your request for holidays your employer is, in most cases, entitled to refuse it as long as they allow you to take your holidays at a later date during the holiday year. Your employer can also require you to take holidays on specified dates.
  4. If you become sick during a period in which you had intended to be on holiday you may be entitled to arrange for this holiday to be taken at another time.
  5. If you are off work on long term sick leave your right to holidays will still accrue.
  6. In most circumstances, if an employee does not take their full holiday entitlement during the holiday year then there is no obligation, unless their contract of employment says otherwise, for the employer to allow them to carry over their holidays into the next holiday year.
  7. If you are prevented from taking your full holiday entitlement during the relevant holiday year because of sickness European case law suggests that you are entitled to carry this over to the next holiday year. The position is still not entirely clear in the UK albeit, employees on long term sick leave in the UK are entitled to take and be paid for accrued annual leave during their time on sick leave.
  8. During maternity leave a woman's right to holidays continue to accrue. However, the Working Time Regulations do not currently permit holidays to be carried over to the next holiday year, where a woman has been prevented from taking her full holiday entitlement due to being on maternity leave. This position does not accord with European case law and therefore there is a very good argument that this should still be allowed by employers.
  9. If your employment is terminated you are entitled to payment in lieu of any unused holidays during the relevant holiday year.