How are bank holidays reckoned for annual leave purposes?

Employers can include bank holidays within your minimum annual leave entitlement of 5.6 weeks a year (28 days for a full time worker). 

Following union campaigning, the UK government agreed that it was unfair that mean employers counted bank holidays against the European minimum of four weeks' paid holiday. 

These days, workers have a total holiday entitlement of four weeks (to meet the European minimum) plus eight days (the number of bank holidays enjoyed in most of the UK). 

However, there is no legal right to take bank holidays off work, because many people (for example in the emergency services) have always had to work on bank holidays. What it does mean is that everyone will get four weeks plus either bank holidays or time off in lieu for bank holidays they have to work. 

Of course, many people get better than the legal minimum, and it is quite common for people to be guaranteed all bank holidays off work in their contracts of employment. 

There is no right to extra pay for working bank holidays, but in many workplaces where unions are recognised, premium rates have been negotiated for bank holiday working. 

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.

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