I recently received a letter from my employer's HR department telling me that they've given me too much paid leave and they would like the additional money back, however, we are disputing the actual amount I owe as I'm getting two different answers from two different areas of the company about whether the figures are correct or not. My regional office's HR guy (who passes information up to HR at head office to pay us) is saying that we accrue holiday on our paid leave, but the number of leave hours I've accrued according to HR at head office does not include any time I would've accrued while on leave.

To clarify, I work part-time, six days a week with a minimum of four hour shifts and our leave is worked out as roughly 12% of the hours we earn, so for working 100 hours, I'd accrue 12 hours of annual leave which can be broken down to three days at 4 hours each or less should I claim more, say two days at six hours each, and I can theoretically take as many days off as I like provided I have enough leave left.

Does the law state that I accrue holiday on the hours of paid leave I ask for? Or would this be something the company decides to include the hours of paid leave when calculating how many hours of leave I've accrued? I've checked my contract but it doesn't mention anything about it.

I've found plenty of information on this concerning unpaid leave and sickness, but not paid leave which was approved beforehand.

3 Answers 3


It depends on your employment contract

There are lots of legal ways of accruing leave. See https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-holiday-entitlement/y

And also the way your company’s accruals system works.

Within each type of leave, accrual can be calculated on hours worked or hours paid with different rates giving the same (typical) outcome.

  • It's not explicitly stated in my employment contract but after asking a fairly decent sample of colleagues they are all saying/assuming we do include paid leave, so I've emailed HR for a straight answer. Maybe they've changed the terms of the contract as I know some colleagues have slightly different terms in their contracts so it could've been a change that happened just before I started working here.
    – Jamie
    Mar 16, 2019 at 12:29

Your legal entitlement is 5.6 weeks of holidays for every year of employment. If you work 6 days of four hours every week, that would be 33.6 days of paid holiday every year.

You would be working 313 days a year except your holidays reduce this to 279.4 days. You accrue holidays through the year, not just on the days that you work.

Now the statutory holiday is quite low. You say “they worked this out so they give you 12% holidays for the time worked”. If this is correct then they just pay the statutory minimum holiday.

To be honest, I wouldn’t trust them to get this calculation right, especially since it is in the companies interest to get it wrong. So you’d have to see what your contract actually says and whether they pay what your contract says.

But it should be mentioned that paying only the minimum statutory holiday is quite tight. The usual terms are from 23 to 25 days paid holidays, plus 8 bank holidays, for a total of 31 to 33 days of holidays per year, of which eight must be taken on the bank holidays.


For the purposes of Statutory entitlement (i.e. the legal minimum) annualised leave entitlement is based on the hours worked, not hours paid.

the UK Government Holiday Entitlement calculator says "The result will only be accurate if the hours in the worker's contract do not include holiday. "

Your company is, however, allowed to offer you more leave than the statutory minimum. So the way 'You' accrue holiday is a matter of personal legal advice.

  • This answer is only correct if leave is based on annualized hours - it may not be see gov.uk/calculate-your-holiday-entitlement/…
    – Dale M
    Mar 14, 2019 at 21:39
  • @DaleM "our leave is worked out as roughly 12% of the hours we earn" sounds like annualised hours to me.
    – JeffUK
    Mar 15, 2019 at 7:11
  • could be, could also be hours worked per week or compressed hours
    – Dale M
    Mar 15, 2019 at 7:39
  • Hours /worked/ per week, the answer is the same, compressed hours you don't 'accrue' holiday in the way OP describes
    – JeffUK
    Mar 15, 2019 at 10:44

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