Holiday pay and annual leave


We all need a break, and trade unions have fought for generations to ensure that we have a right to paid time off. If you are having problems getting the leave you’re entitled to or your holiday pay, get in touch with your GMB rep or region.

Taking a break: your right to time paid time off

A common complaint we hear is that workers are either not given the right amount of holiday days (sometimes called annual leave), or are not paid proper holiday pay.  If you’re in this situation, you should contact your GMB rep or regional office – if it’s happening to you there’s a chance it’s happening to everyone you work with too. We can help support you and fellow members you work with, to make sure you get what you’re entitled to. 

How many holidays should I get?

A full-time worker is entitled to 5.6 weeks each leave year; this includes bank holidays. A full-time worker therefore is entitled to 20 days off, as well as Bank Holidays, meaning 28 in total. 

Your employer can give you more days than that (and GMB argues that our members should get more than the statutory minimum – it’s one of the things we negotiate on with employers), but this is the basic legal minimum. 

If you are a part-time worker or work irregular houses, you can figure out your entitlement by multiplying the number of days you work by 5.6 but there’s also a handy tool on the Gov.uk website that can help: click here. 


My boss says I don’t get 20 days (plus bank holidays) because of the accrual system.

Most employers give you the standard number of days to use on an annual basis when you start a new job, however some may choose to use the accrual system in your first year. That means you build up the number of days you are entitled to on a monthly basis, which means you couldn’t take a week off in your first month because you wouldn’t have ‘accrued’ enough days. 

Do I get paid the same wages when I’m on annual leave?

You should be paid the same when you are on leave as when you are at work. If you earn £200 a week, then you should get £200 when you take a week of holiday. If you usually receive a bonus or commission, you should also be paid this while you are off. 

This isn’t always straight forward if you’re on irregular hours, in general you should receive an average of the previous 12 weeks but this is something you should get in touch it’s GMB about


Do I have to work on a Bank Holiday?

You don’t have an automatic right to have Bank Holiday off, so your employer can ask that you work. This should be covered in your contract of employment, so as a starting point you should check that. 

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