Can bank holidays be included in a worker's statutory leave entitlement?
Yes, workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks' statutory annual leave, which can include bank holidays.
Prior to 1 October 2007, workers were entitled to four weeks' paid annual leave under reg.13 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833), which could include bank and public holidays, in the absence of any express or implied contractual terms to the contrary. Where an employer followed this practice, after eight public holidays had been accounted for, a worker on a typical five-day week was left with only 12 days of annual leave.
To extend the right to minimum paid annual leave to four weeks plus the equivalent of the eight bank and public holidays in England and Wales, in 2007, the Labour Government inserted a new reg.13A into the Working Time Regulations 1998, adding an additional 1.6 weeks' entitlement. Workers are therefore now entitled to 5.6 weeks' annual leave, which may include bank and public holidays. (There is no statutory right for any of the leave to be taken on bank holidays themselves.)