Holidays During Your Probation Period – Rights & Entitlements

Due to start a new job and wondering if you can take holidays during your probation period? We look at your rights, and how holiday pay entitlement works. When you’re on a trial period at work, it’s natural to want to make the best possible impression. But does this mean no holidays?

Many people book holidays at the start of the year so that they know the cost and can budget. So what if you have a new job offer and already have a holiday booked?

It can be confusing trying to work out how probation and holiday entitlement slot together. We’ve got you covered as we explore your holiday rights during a probationary period at work.

We’ll also look at how most employers will approach you having a holiday already booked before you start your new job.


Can You Go on Holiday During Probation?

Employees start accruing their annual leave the day they start working for a company. An employer can’t refuse your statutory right to accrue holdays while still on probation.

After this point, the rules aren’t so black and white. You should check the holiday entitlement section of your contract. Some employers will have a policy of not allowing staff on probation periods to take holidays. They are within their right to do this.

If you have a break planned, make sure you understand your new employer’s policy before starting your new job.


Check Your Contract

Most companies will have a system in place for working out holiday entitlement over the year. All this information should be laid out clearly within your contract to understand the process before signing.

This is particularly important if you have a pre booked holiday. Some work environments will expect employees to have their annual leave all at the same time. For example, if there is an annual shutdown of the office.

Our guide looking at if an employer can dictate when you take annual leave has detailed information on the law around this.


Inform Your Employer of Holidays During Interviews

Employers will usually ask you during the interview stages if you have any holiday booked.

If you do, then most employers will try and accommodate you. If you are not asked, it is advisable to discuss your planned vacation. Should you not feel comfortable raising the issue at interview, then wait until a job offer has been issued. It’s a reasonable point to raise, so don’t worry about it.

If you don’t have any planned holidays, your employer should explain how the process works. It is normal to have to work for a few months before accruing any annual leave.  Some companies will allow you to take holidays before they are accrued.

Both employer and employee need to be completely transparent about the holiday expectations. It can be a juggling act for companies to cover holidays. But it’s also a crucial rest period to maintain the welfare of the staff. The needs of both parties should, therefore, be well considered and balanced in approach.

Most companies need to be issued with holiday notice which is usually set at double the length of time you want off. So, if you have a week’s holiday planned you need to give at least 2 weeks’ notice of this. Again, it’s important to find this out in the contract and understand it. If the contract is silent on terms and conditions about holidays then ask for clarification.

Employees should be very clear about their holiday entitlement before they begin their probation period.


What if Your Employer Doesn’t Allow Holidays During Probation?

If employers prevent their staff from taking their holidays during the probation period then this expectation needs to be realistic.

It is still important that the health of the employee remains at the forefront of any decisions. Some probationary periods may only be a few weeks, in which case being unable to take time off won’t pose much of an issue. However, some companies stipulate a longer probation period and in these situations, it may be unrealistic to not allow a staff member some time off.

Then there is also the issue of the probation period being extended and what this means for an employee’s accrued holiday thus far. Should your review state that your probation is set to be extended, your boss should lay out how the holiday will work during this extension period. If the topic doesn’t arise, then don’t be afraid to ask the question as it’s very relevant and will need clarifying within the contract’s conditions.


Do You Get Holiday Pay on Probation

It is important to know that holiday pay is a statutory right and this includes during your probation period

In this sense, staff on probation have holiday pay entitlement just like a permanent employee. The term accrued holiday refers to a build up of leave days an employee earns based on the number of days they have worked. Some businesses may have their own rules in place for this, which should be set out within the contract of employment.

If your employer tells you that they don’t give holiday pay to employees on probation, this is in breach of employment law. Bear in mind however, that your employer is only obligated to pay you for leave days accrued based on length of service.


Holiday Pay Quick Facts

Check your employment contract to see what holiday leave is on offer as your company may offer enhanced entitlements.

However, statutory minimum holiday pay is as follows:-

  • All employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holidays per year.
  • Employees accrue one twelfth of their total entitlement per month.
  • Part time employees accrue leave on a pro rata basis.

Read more about holiday pay entitlement on the ACAS website.

Use the UK GOV holiday pay calculator to work out what your holiday pay entitlement should be.


What if I Leave Before I Take any Holidays?

If your probation period hasn’t gone to plan, then it’s important to know your rights when it comes to holiday pay for any accrued days.

If your employer decides not to offer you a permanent position then they are still legally obligated to honour your statutory holiday entitlement. This means being paid for any holiday you have accrued on top of your notice period. This is also the case if things end badly and you are sacked during your probation period for any reason.

Are you worried about your holiday pay if you want to resign during the probation period? You’ll be pleased to know that the same rules apply and you should still get what you are owed.

If you leave with no notice during probation, then you will only be paid the days you have worked, plus holiday pay accrued. You will not receive pay for the weeks you had left on your probation.


Further Reading


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