News & Insights: Employee rights

The minimum number of days holiday you get in the UK

holidays and bank holidays

In the UK, when you are employed by a company you get holidays and bank holidays. These are standardised practices that most businesses in the UK use, to better  understand the holiday and bank holiday system in the UK we put together this article detailing all the relevant stuff to know about holidays and bank holidays in the UK.

Number of days making up usable holidays

When you start working somewhere, you will accrue holidays, known as annual leave at some businesses, allowing you to take time off to pursue non work related activities. People in work are entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid holiday time off a year as determined by the government. This is set out by the government, this is known as annual leave or statutory leave entitlement.

This works out through whether the business chooses to include bank holidays among the annual leave holidays as some businesses do this.

Below is a small breakdown of how many days this works out as:


Holidays minimum:  20 days

Bank holidays:  8 per year


When can you take them?

This is down to your employer, they can allow them any time or on set weeks, your workplace will have established practices in place regarding taking your holidays, they are however generally open to holidays being taken wherever possible so long as it conforms to government guidance.


Can weeks be frozen for holidays?

Yes, many companies have peak weeks where they might freeze holidays from being taken, this is among industries where they experience busy periods of activity, these would be periods where holidays are not permitted due to demand, some businesses operate specifically for these peak times so it wouldn’t support their business model to allow for annual leave during this period. However this may not affect things like maternity leave, which follows it’s own guidelines, so check with your workplace for the specifics of your maternity leave if it affects you and you don’t already know.

This is something that happens more in specific industries like retail, some public services and even some airports.


Do holidays need using in 1 year?

Yes, normally you can not carry them over so it is advised you make the most use out of them that you can! Due to the fact that your holidays can only be used for that year, it’s best to plan and create a holiday structure for your workplace, so you can make the most of your holiday whilst leaving enough behind to take any holidays that may come up unexpectedly.


What is a holiday year?

This changes from workplace to workplace however a holiday year is generally the period within a year that holidays can be booked from, some places do a January to December structure and some run an April to March holiday year. We’ll use ourselves as an example of a holiday year structure:

HtE Recruitment does the January to December holiday year, the reason for this is that any unused days can be used in December, where we are quieter instead of March where we can be busy.



Bank holidays throughout a year

8 days including Christmas day are what is generally expected of a year, regardless of holiday structure at each workplace. This means many workplaces have built expected periods of working and not working, allowing many different structures to take place at each work place.

If your business is open you might work the bank holiday, if you do, you get that day elsewhere.  Most hospitality companies do 28 days holiday in total, so they add the two pots together and if you want a bank holiday off, you have to book it as a holiday day. 


Current bank holiday days in 2022

Below you will find the amount of bank holidays for Scotland, England and Wales, this is because the days of which bank holidays are can be different in these regions. So we’ve focused on the amount, dates can be found on the governments website but you’ll have to check with your workplace for which holidays effect your workplace.


England and Wales: 8


Scotland: 8


The bank holiday days in Scotland can often be on different days compared to Wales and England so we’ve included them separately, you can check the governments website for bank holiday dates in Scotland.. 




HtE Recruitment News & Insights

This news and insights page has been written by Josh our Marketing Coordinator. HtE Recruitment take no responsibility for this post.

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