Are employees entitled to time off for bank holidays in addition to the statutory minimum annual leave entitlement of 5.6 weeks?
The statutory minimum annual leave entitlement under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833) is 5.6 weeks. There is no automatic entitlement to take time off on bank holidays in addition to this, unless the terms of the employment contract provide otherwise.
Under s.1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, employers must give new employees a written statement of terms and conditions of employment. Under s.1(4)(d)(i) of the Act, the statement must contain terms relating to holiday entitlement, including bank holidays, and holiday pay.
Prior to the increase in holiday from four to 5.6 weeks in 2009, many employers worded contracts to the effect that employees were entitled to "statutory entitlement plus bank holidays". Previously, this wording would have granted an entitlement to 20 days' leave (for an employee working a five-day week) plus eight bank holidays. Following the increase, it denotes an entitlement to 28 days' leave plus eight bank holidays.