All employees in the UK other than school leavers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks holiday every year. Employees who are below the school leaving age have to take a two week break during the school holidays.
The 5.6 weeks equate to 28 days for someone who works a five day week. However, the number of days is capped at the statutory maximum of 28 days, so anyone who works a six day week would still be entitled to 28 days. If an employee works less than five days a week, the number of days annual leave will be adjusted accordingly.
It is possible to count public and bank holidays as part of the minimum entitlement, although those days must be paid holidays. When an employee starts work, the holiday entitlement is built from the very first day at work. The holiday entitlement must be included in the employment contract, and although 5.6 weeks is a statutory minimum, an employer may offer more leave if they wish.
Statutory entitlement to annual leave
Anyone who is self-employed does not receive a statutory entitlement to annual leave, as they can take as much or as little time off as they please. Employees in the civil protection sector, like the police or armed forces do not have the right to a statutory minimum entitlement.
UK employment regulations stipulate that an employee must take at least four weeks holiday each year before being able to carry forward any excess days to the next year.