What is the statutory holiday allowance?

Have you ever had one of those stressful and energy-draining work days when you've thought to yourself, "I need a six-month holiday, twice a year!"

We've all been there, it doesn’t matter how rewarding, interesting, or fulfilling your job is - everyone needs some time off. Especially if you want to keep firing on all cylinders, doing what you do best.

Even the most committed and hard-working of us will look forward to a few days from our statutory holiday allowance like a child looking forward to Christmas. Sometimes the most demanding workload can be made bearable by the knowledge that a holiday is coming up soon.

So what is statutory holiday allowance?

Full timers: Working nine to five

In the words of Dolly Parton; “Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living” - but it'll also make you some time off. If you work a five day week, you're entitled to at least 28 days of paid leave a year. That's 5.6 weeks out of 52 which is not to be sneezed at.

The downside is that statutory holiday allowance is capped at 28 days. This means if you work for six days a week, you still won't get any more paid holidays than someone working five days, unless your boss is a generous soul willing to offer holiday leave that goes above the legal minimum. Some companies offer this as standard to employees who've been on the books for a certain length of time.

(We're big believers in giving more than the minimum statutory allowance - here's our manifesto on the benefits of giving employees more leave.)

Part-timers: splitting it fairly

Part-time workers are still entitled to the same 5.6 weeks' paid holiday as full-timers, but on a pro-rata basis. To work out statutory holiday allowance in proportion to hours worked, take the number of days you're in work and multiply it by 5.6.

So if you work three days a week, your paid holiday allowance for the year would be 16.8 days (3 x 5.6). Any generous employer would round that up to 17.

(It's the same deal for sick pay entitlements for part time workers - they get the same rates as full-timers, but on a pro-rata basis.)

Don't bank on extra holidays

As the weather turns, the days lengthen, we look towards bank holidays with relish. They're a welcome treat, especially when the weather cooperates.

However - don't assume these treasured dates in your calendar are all expenses paid holidays.

At their discretion, your employer can decide if bank holidays form part of your statutory holiday allowance, or are paid extras. Usually you'll find the 28 days includes the bank holidays. (If you'd normally get it as a day off, you might find the company tries to entice you back in with a higher hourly rate than usual.)

With a bit of clever planning, bank holidays can help you make the most of your annual leave allowance, and get some pretty epic stretches of time off - here's how.

Earning your allowance

From your first day at work, you start to accrue statutory holiday allowance. Sick leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, and adoption or shared parental leave all count as working days when it comes to building your holiday entitlement.

As I said, paid statutory holiday allowance is a legal right. For both employer and employee it’s important to understand how much holiday time is put aside, for the well-being of the team and the greater good of the company.

Everyone needs a holiday, so they can return to work revitalised, reinvigorated and raring to go, with a skip in their step and a positive mindset.

Want to know more about building a holiday-positive working culture? Here are our thoughts on encouraging everyone to take more time off.