laws2

United Kingdom Leave Laws

laws

Holidays

The term refers to all public holidays in the United Kingdom. Employers are not required to provide paid leave for bank holidays, it is up to an employer to choose whether or not to include bank holidays as part of the employee’s statutory annual leave. If a bank holiday is on a weekend, a ‘substitute’ weekday becomes a bank holiday, normally the following Monday.

England and Wales                               

  • New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Early May bank holiday 
  • Spring bank holiday
  • Summer bank holiday
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

Scotland

  • New Year’s Day
  • 2nd January 
  • Good Friday
  • Early May bank holiday
  • Spring bank holiday
  • Summer bank holiday
  • St Andrew’s Day
  • Christmas Day 
  • Boxing Day 

Northern Ireland

  • New Year’s Day
  • St Patrick’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Early May bank holiday
  • Spring bank holiday
  • Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen’s Day)
  • Summer bank holiday
  • Christmas Day 
  • Boxing Day

Accruals

PTO (Paid Time Off)

  • Vacation

Almost all employees in the UK are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid vacation per year. Vacation leave is also called statutory leave entitlement or annual leave. This applies to agency workers, workers with irregular hours and workers on zero-hours contracts

Full-time employees, who work 5 days a week are entitled to up to 28 days of paid vacation. If the employer includes bank holidays in annual leave, employees are entitled to 8 days off for holidays and an additional 20 days. If the employer does not include bank holidays in annual leave, employees are entitled to 28 days of paid vacation time and an additional 8 bank holiday days, making a total vacation entitlement per year 36 days. 

Part-time employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid vacation per year. In order to calculate their vacation entitlement, employees have to multiply 5.6 days (statutory vacation entitlement) by the number of days they work per week. For example, if the employee works 3 days per week, he is entitled to 16.8 days of vacation leave per year. 

Employees who work irregular hours, including shift workers or term-time workers are entitled to paid time off for every hour they work. 

Vacation pay should be paid for the time when annual leave is taken.

Employees must provide notice when they want to take the leave at least twice as long as the amount of leave they want to take.

Sick Leave

Employees are entitled to take up to 28 weeks of paid sick leave. Employees are entitled to get £95.85 per week of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). To be eligible for (SSP) employees must:

  • be classed as an employee and have done some work for your employer
  • earn an average of at least £120 per week
  • have been ill, self-isolating or ‘shielding’ for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days)

Employees must give a medical certificate or a sick note if they have been sick for more than 7 days in a row and have taken sick leave, including non-working days such as weekends or bank holidays. Employees are not required to provide a sick note if they have been off from work for less than 7 days. 

Statutory vacation entitlement is accrued while an employee is off work due to an illness. Any statutory vacation entitlement that is not used because of illness can be carried over into the next leave year. If an employee is ill just before or during their vacation, they can take it as sick leave instead. Employers may ask employees to use their paid vacation leave while sick if the employee is not eligible for sick pay. Employers are not allowed to force employees to use vacation leave if they are eligible for sick leave. 

Employers are required to provide reasonable adjustments for employees who are disabled due to an illness, including shorter hours or adapting equipment employees use at work. 

Long-term sickness Employees who have been sick for more than 4 weeks are considered long-term sick. A long-term sick employee is still entitled to annual leave.

Linked periods of sickness Employees who have regular periods of sickness are considered linked, to be linked, the periods must last 4 or more days each and be 8 weeks or less apart. The employee is not eligible for SSP if they have a continuous series of linked periods that last more than 3 years.

Rollovers

  • Use-it-or-lose-it policy

Many employers have a policy that permits limited carryover. This provides an employee an option to carry over up to five days’ accrued vacation to be taken within the first three months of the next vacation year. This benefit depends on an employer’s policy. In absence of any other specific rule, employers are allowed to use Use-it-or-lose-it policy.

  • PTO payout at the termination

Employers must pay for untaken statutory leave, even if the worker is dismissed for gross misconduct.

Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Shared Parental Leave and Adoption Leave

Maternity Leave Employees are entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave. The first 39 weeks of leave are paid. Statutory Maternity Pay starts when an employee takes maternity leave. To be eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay employees must:

  • earn on average at least £120 a week
  • give the correct notice
  • give a proof they are pregnant
  • have worked for the same employer continuously for at least 26 weeks continuing into the ‘qualifying week’ – the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth

Leave consists of:

  • Ordinary Maternity Leave – first 26 weeks
  • Additional Maternity Leave – last 26 weeks

Employees are not required to take 52 weeks but must take 2 weeks’ leave after the childbirth or 4 weeks’ leave if the employee works in a factory. The earliest leave can start is 11 weeks before the expected delivery week or it can start the day after the birth of the baby is early or automatically if an employee is off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the week (Sunday to Saturday) that the baby is due. 15 weeks’ notice is required.

Paternity Leave Employees are entitled to 1 or 2 weeks of job-protected paid leave if the employee’s partner is having a baby, adopting a child, or having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement. Leave cannot start before birth. It must end within 56 days of the birth. Employees must provide 28 days’ notice. Leave must be taken consecutively. The statutory weekly rate of Paternity Pay is £151.20, or 90% of employee’s average weekly earnings. Employees are eligible if they have been employed for the same employer for at least 26 weeks up to any day in the ‘qualifying week’ – 15th week before the expected date.

Employees are not eligible for Paternity Pay and Leave if they have taken paid time off to attend adoption appointments.

Leave for Antenatal Appointments Employees are entitled to take the leave to accompany a pregnant partner 2 antenatal appointments, 6 and a half hours per appointment. Agency employees are eligible if they have been employed for at least 12 weeks. 

Shared Parental Leave Employees are entitled to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay leave. Leave can be taken within the first year the child is born or placed within the family. Leave can be taken in separate periods or consecutively. 

To be eligible for Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP), birth and adoptive parents must:

  • have been employed continuously by the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date or by the end of the week, you were matched with the child.
  • stay with the same employer while you take SPL
  • be ‘employees’ (not ‘workers’)
  • each earns on average at least £120 a week

Unpaid parental Leave Employees are entitled to take job-protected leave to spend more time with their children, look at new schools, settle children into new childcare arrangements, spend more time with family, such as visiting grandparents.

Time off for Training Employees who have been employed for at least 26 weeks, agency workers with at least one year of service who have returned from unpaid parental leave are entitled to request flexible working once every 12 months. This is no applicable in Northern Ireland. 

Adoption Leave Eligible employees are entitled to up to 52 weeks of job-protected statutory leave. Leave is paid for up to 39 weeks. Leave consists of: 

  • 26 weeks of Ordinary Adoption Leave
  • 26 weeks of Additional Adoption Leave

One employee in a couple can take adoption leave, the other could take parental leave. Employees must provide proof of the adoption or surrogacy. Employees are entitled to paid time off to attend 5 adoption appointments. Adoption leave can start:

  • up to 14 days before the date the child starts living with you (UK adoptions)
  • when the child arrives in the UK or within 28 days of this date (overseas adoptions)
  • the day the child’s born or the day after (if employees have used a surrogate to have a child)

Compassionate Leave

Employees are entitled to take leave due to take care of a dependant to deal with an emergency. The amount of time allowed for leave depends on the situation. Leave can be paid or unpaid depending on employer policy. Leave can be taken for the following reasons:

    • Illness, injury, or assault This includes mental or physical illnesses that don’t have to be life-threatening or need full-time care – it could be an existing condition that has worsened.

 

  • Having a baby
  • If a child is involved in an incident during school time

 

Written notice is not required.

Jury Duty Leave and Public Duties Leave

Jury Duty Leave Employers must allow all employees to take leave to perform jury service. The amount of time is not specified, but not to exceed 10 days. 

Public Duties Leave Employees are entitled to a reasonable unpaid amount of time off to perform public duties if they are:

  • a magistrate (also known as a justice of the peace)
  • a local councilor
  • a school governor
  • a member of any statutory tribunal (for example an employment tribunal)
  • a member of the managing or governing body of an educational establishment
  • a member of a health authority
  • a member of a school council or board in Scotland
  • a member of the Environment Agency or the Scottish Environment Protection agency
  • a member of the prison independent monitoring boards (England or Wales) or a member of the prison visiting committees (Scotland)
  • a member of Scottish Water or a Water Customer Consultation Panel
  • a trade union member (for trade union duties)

Employees are not eligible for leave if they are:

  • agency workers
  • members of the police service or armed forces
  • employed on a fishing vessel or a gas or oil rig at sea
  • merchant seamen
  • civil servants, if their public duties are connected to political activities restricted under the terms of their employment

Bereavement Leave

Employees are entitled to a reasonable amount of time off due to a dependent’s death, including partner, parent, child, or someone else who relied on them. Leave is not paid.

Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave Employees are entitled to take 2 weeks of paid leave from the first day of employment for each child who has died or was stillborn. Leave can start on or after the date of the death or stillbirth and must finish within 56 weeks of the date of the death or stillbirth. Employees are allowed to take:

  • 2 weeks together
  • 2 separate weeks of leave
  • only one week of leave

This applies to the biological, adoptive, or parents of a child born to a surrogate.

Military Leave

The United Kingdom has no leave laws regarding military leave.