Holiday pay and overtime


All workers and employees, including agency workers, casual workers and workers on zero-hours contracts, are entitled by law to receive 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year. For workers who work 5 days a week, 5.6 weeks’ holiday works out at 28 days, but this can include the 8 bank and public holidays, leaving you with 20 days to take when you choose. If you work fewer than 5 days a week, or you work irregular hours, you will receive a proportion of the 5.6 weeks.

Recent court decisions have confirmed that the amount you get for holiday pay should be based on your usual weekly income, including regular overtime, commission and shift allowances, not just basic pay for 4 of those 5.6 weeks. It is lawful for employers to base your holiday pay on basic pay for 1.6 of your 5.6 weeks’ entitlement.

What should you do if you think you have not been paid properly?

If you think you may have been underpaid holiday pay, you should first write to your employer setting out:

  • when you went on holiday
  • what you were paid and
  • how much you think you are owed.

If this does not resolve the situation, you should raise a formal grievance. If this fails, you can make a claim for non-payment of correct holiday pay in the employment tribunal.

When should I make a claim?

You must bring a claim for underpayment of holiday pay within 3 months minus one day of the date of the underpayment.

What about underpayments for holiday taken more than 3 months ago?

If you think you were underpaid for holiday you took more than 3 months ago, you will need to seek specialist advice, for example, from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

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