Millenium Bridge, London

Don’t bank on Bank Holiday pay in the United Kingdom

General Holiday Pay

Within the United Kingdom, England and Wales have eight bank holidays a year. These are New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, August Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Most fall on a Monday. If New Year’s Day, Christmas Day or Boxing Day fall on a weekend, then a day in lieu will be observed on the next working day.

Scotland have some amendments to the list (including having an extra day at New Year, but not observing Easter Monday), while Northern Ireland observes two extra public holidays – St. Patrick’s Day and The Battle of the Boyne.

The links below will give you full lists of the holidays, which you can add to your favourite calendar program.

Bank Holidays in United Kingdom

Below we have listed the rules regarding bank holidays in the UK. In summary, check your contract and don’t assume that a bank holiday means you automatically get the day off or get extra pay if you have to work on the day.

Facts about Holiday Pay in the UK

Employees do not have a statutory right to take bank holidays off. Your employer does not have to give you time off on a bank holiday or at Christmas if they are not included in your annual leave entitlement or contract.

Your employer can also make you take your leave on bank holidays or at Christmas. For example, the business might shut down for a week over Christmas.

An employee is not entitled to extra pay for working on a bank holiday. Any right to extra pay should be outlined in the employee’s contract of employment.

Bank holidays can be deducted from an employee’s annual leave allowance (so they will have to take all bank holidays as paid leave) or employers can count bank holidays as additional holiday days. It is at the discretion of the employer if they choose to pay the employee for this and it should be stated in the employee’s contract of employment. Whatever the arrangement, the employee must get at least the 5.6 weeks (pro rata if you’re part time, not pro-rata if you are on a zero hours contract) of statutory annual leave as paid time off.

If bank holidays are included in your holiday entitlement, you still build up paid days off for bank holidays while on sick leave, maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave

Part-time workers are entitled to the same terms as full-time workers when it comes to bank holiday entitlement, but on a pro-rata basis.

Do you have to work on a Bank Holiday?

If an employee is required to work on bank holidays as per the terms of their employment contract then the employee cannot refuse to work. However employers are obligated, under the Equality Act 2010, to protect workers against direct and indirect discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.

Bank Holidays in lieu

If a bank holiday falls on one of your normal working days and you do not want to take the day as annual leave, you could ask your employer if you can work the bank holiday and take leave on another day instead.

This is taking a day’s annual leave ‘in lieu’. Your employer does not have to agree to this.

You can only get paid in lieu of bank holidays when they are part of unused statutory annual leave when your employment ends.