How much should I get paid during my holidays?

Under the Working Time Regulations, you are entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave if you work full-time. Part-time workers qualify for paid holiday proportionate to their hours of work.

You should be paid your 'normal' weekly wages for each week when you are on holiday. In other words, your wages should be whatever you would have earned if you had worked instead of taking holiday. For this reason, holiday pay should include your basic pay plus the variable elements of your pay such as commission, shift premiums, travel time payments, weekend and anti-social hours payments you would have earned by working.

There have been a number of important rulings on workers’ rights to holidays and on holiday pay, backed by trade unions. If you think you are may be being underpaid your holiday pay, you should contact your union rep. If you don’t belong to a union but would like help with negotiating improvements to the holiday terms and conditions where you work, use our Union Finder tool to find the right union for you.

It is a breach of the Working Time Directive to pay basic pay only when you are taking holiday, where this is lower than your normal wages.

In general, the holiday pay rulings brought by trade unions apply only to the 20 days of paid annual holiday under the European Working Time Directive and not to the extra 8 days of holiday provided for under UK domestic law. However, most good employers will take the same approach to pay rates for all holiday, rather than complicating matters by trying to differentiate between the two different types of holiday.

A written statement of particulars should be given to employees within eight weeks of starting work, and must specify the terms relating to holidays and holiday pay.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.