Holiday Entitlement

Published 31 August 10


Annual holiday entitlement

England and Wales: Under the Agricultural Wages Order (AWO) published by the Agricultural Wages Board, employees have clearly defined minimum holiday and holiday pay entitlements. The Working Time Regulations also apply here and the Order stipulates that when calculating holiday entitlements, employers should take account of both the Order and the Working Time Regulations.

Most employees - those employed under a Contract of Employment - are entitled to paid annual leave. Only trainees undertaking work experience as part of a course do not directly fall under this entitlement. The Order is comprehensive and contains step-by-step instructions on calculating holiday and pay entitlement. The annual leave year runs from 1 October to 30 September in the following year, and employees are entitled to take 2 weeks of their annual leave on consecutive days from 1 April to 30 September in any single year.

Essentially, holiday entitlement is ascertained by using the average number of days the employee works each week. It includes the days worked as basic hours and also any worked as 'guaranteed' - i.e. contractual - overtime, but specifies that other overtime not worked as part of a contract is not included in the calculation. By this route, an employee's annual holiday entitlement can currently range from 7.5 days for workers working 1 day per week to 36 days for those working more than 6 days a week on average.


The calculation of holiday pay

Holiday pay is calculated depending upon whether the worker's wage varies from week-to-week. Where it does not vary, the basic wage plus guaranteed overtime pay is divided by the average days worked per week to provide the amount per day of annual leave. For a variable wage, an average of the weekly wage taken over the previous 12 weeks immediately before the leave period commences is taken and divided by the number of days worked to calculate pay per day of annual leave. This is calculated proportionally for any days where only part of the day is taken as leave.

The AWO also stipulates:

  • Holiday entitlements for employees who contractually work only part of the year.
  • Rules on employers 'buying out' annual leave by mutual agreement with a worker.
  • Arrangements for the payment or recovery of over-payment of holiday pay at the termination of employment.


Bank holidays

If a Bank Holiday falls on a day where a worker is normally contractually required to work, they must be paid at their prescribed overtime rate for the hours worked, unless the employer does not require them to work on that particular day, when it can be treated as part of the annual leave entitlement.

Information about the Working Time Regulations can be found here.

Further information on the Agricultural Wages Order can be found here.

In Scotland:

In Northern Ireland:

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