Advice: Can my employer restrict my leave to just 10 days per year?

Pat Hutchinson MBE.
Pat Hutchinson MBE.

By Pat Hutchinson MBE, District Manager, Citizens Advice Newtownabbey

Q: I am 30 years old and I have started working full time for a new employer. My employer has said I’m not entitled to Bank holidays off. Is that correct? He is only giving me 10 days leave in total. Can he do that?

A: You are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks holiday a year if you work full time, or a pro-rata amount if you work part time. This is called statutory holiday.

To work out how many days holiday you can take a year, you need to multiply 5.6 by the number of days you work in a week.

For example: If you work a five-day week, you are entitled to 28 days paid holiday a year (5.6 X 5). If you work 2.5 days a week, you are entitled to 14 days paid holiday a year (5.6 X 2.5).

The maximum amount of statutory paid holiday you can be entitled to is 28 days. This applies even if you work more than five days a week.

Your contract of employment may give you the right to take more than the statutory amount of paid holiday. However, it cannot give you less. For example, if your contract of employment says you can only take 10 days paid holiday a year and you work five days a week, you will still be entitled to take 28 days paid holiday.

You do not have an automatic right to take bank or public holidays off work, with or without pay. This will depend on your employment contract.

If your employer refuses to give you your full holiday entitlement you should try to sort it out informally with them first. If this doesn’t work, you may need to raise a grievance. If you have tried to raise the issue with your employer and are still not happy with the outcome, you can ask an employment tribunal to enforce your right to take holiday. If you make a claim to a tribunal, you must do this within three months of your employer’s refusal to let you take holiday.

You should seek advice from an experienced adviser, for example at Citizens Advice, as there is a time limit for making claims to employment tribunals.

• Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice – go to or call at: Citizens Advice Newtownabbey, Dunanney Centre, Rathmullan Drive, Rathcoole, Newtownabbey, BT37 9DQ. Telephone advice is available 9am – 4pm each day on 028 9085 2271 (Lunch 1:00 - 1:30pm), email advice is available at