Paid annual leave is a legal right that an employer must provide. Most workers who work a 5-day week full time must receive at least 28 days’ paid annual leave per year. This is the equivalent of 5.6 weeks of holiday.
Getting paid instead of taking holidays
The only time someone can get paid in place of taking statutory leave (known as ‘payment in lieu’) is when they leave their job. Employers must pay for untaken statutory leave (even if the worker is dismissed for gross misconduct).
If an employer offers more than 5.6 weeks’ annual leave, they can agree separate arrangements for the extra leave.
Taking holiday before leaving a job
Sick leave and holiday
Statutory holiday entitlement is built up (accrued) while an employee is off work sick (no matter how long they’re off).
Any statutory holiday entitlement that isn’t used because of illness can be carried over into the next leave year. If an employee is ill just before or during their holiday, they can take it as sick leave instead.
An employee can ask to take their paid holiday for the time they’re off work sick. They might do this if they don’t qualify for sick pay, for example. Any rules relating to sick leave will still apply.
Employers can’t force employees to take annual leave when they’re eligible for sick leave.
When an employee changes their holiday to sick leave they’re paid Statutory Sick Pay which will count towards the amount of holiday pay they’ve received. The exceptions to this rule are:
- they don’t qualify for Statutory Sick Pay
- they were off work sick and being paid ‘occupational sick pay’