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Why is this important? The information we provide differs between countries. To get information for your country, please select from the dropdown.

Am I entitled to have the Bank holiday off work?

You are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks' holiday a year. 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.

However, 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.

Your employment contact may say that you have the right to statutory holidays or it may not say anything about contractual holidays or statutory holidays. In these cases, your employer can:

  • ask you to work bank or public holidays, or
  • give you bank and public holidays off without paying you for them. In this case, you won't lose your right to take your full statutory holiday at some other point, or
  • give you bank and public holidays off and pay you for them but ask you to count them towards your statutory holiday entitlement, or
  • do a combination of all of these.

Example: if you work five days a week, you are entitled to 28 days' statutory paid holiday a year (5.6 weeks X 5 days). If you are expected to take bank and public holidays off, and you are paid for them, these days will be deducted from your 28 days. In England and Wales, there are eight bank and public holidays so this will leave you 20 days which you can choose when to take.

In Scotland, there are nine bank and public holidays so this will leave you 19 days which you can choose when to take.

In Northern Ireland, there are ten bank and public holidays so you will be left with 18 days which you can chose when to take.

Your employment contract may give you bank or public holidays off on top of your statutory holiday. If this is the case, your contract will specify this and also say whether you will be paid for these days. The situation can be complicated if your contract says nothing about bank and public holidays.

Example: your employment contract says you are entitled to 35 days a year paid holiday. This is more than your statutory holiday. Your employment contract says nothing about bank and public holidays. You will be entitled to 7 days off over and above your statutory entitlement. Your employer may pay you for bank and public holidays as part of this extra entitlement or they may ask you to work bank and public holidays and take the extra 7 days at other times.

For more information about taking time off work on bank holidays, see How much paid holiday can you take in Holidays and holiday pay.
For more information about Christmas day working for shop-workers, see Basic rights at work.

Other Frequently asked questions about work: