Almost all people classed as workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday a year (known as statutory leave entitlement or annual leave).

This includes:

  • agency workers
  • workers with ‘irregular hours’ (where the number of hours they work in a pay period often or always changes)
  • ‘part-year’ workers (where there are periods of at least a week in a leave year where they do not need to work and are not paid)

An employer can include bank holidays as part of statutory annual leave.

Statutory annual leave entitlement

Most workers who work a 5-day week must receive at least 28 days’ paid annual leave a year. This is the equivalent of 5.6 weeks of holiday. 

Working part-time

Part-time workers who work regular hours for the whole year are entitled to at least 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday, but this will amount to fewer than 28 days. 

For example, if they work 3 days a week, they must get at least 16.8 days’ leave a year (3 × 5.6).

Use the holiday entitlement calculator to work out a part-time worker’s leave.

Working irregular hours or for part of the year

People working irregular hours or part of the year are entitled to up to 5.6 weeks statutory leave.

They will build up (‘accrue’) leave depending on the hours they’ve already worked, rather than getting a fixed number of days or hours.

Use the holiday entitlement calculator to work out how much leave they’ve accrued in a pay period.

For leave years beginning on or before 31 March 2024, leave entitlement for irregular-hours and part-year workers does not need to be accrued based on hours they’ve already worked. You can use the holiday entitlement calculator to estimate their entitlement based on the average days or hours they work each week.

Limits on statutory leave

Statutory paid holiday entitlement is limited to 28 days. For example, staff working 6 days a week are only entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday.

Bank holidays

Bank or public holidays do not have to be given as paid leave.

An employer can choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave.

Extra leave

An employer can choose to offer more leave than the legal minimum. They do not have to apply all the rules that apply to statutory leave to the extra leave. For example, a worker might need to be employed for a certain amount of time before they become entitled to it.

Other aspects of holiday entitlement

Workers have the right to:

  • get holiday pay
  • build up holiday entitlement during certain types of leave, such as maternity, paternity, or adoption leave
  • build up holiday entitlement while off work sick
  • request holiday at the same time as sick leave


Paid annual leave is a legal right that an employer must provide. If a worker thinks their rights to leave and pay are not being met there are a number of ways to resolve the dispute.