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Holidays and Time Off Work

People take time off from their jobs in all sorts of situations - whatever your reason for needing to take a period of leave, there’s likely to be a facet of employment law which covers it.

There are many different reasons that people take time off work – for example, they may be ill or need to care for their children, or simply want a holiday. This section explains which employment rights apply to different kinds of leave.

Holiday pay

Most workers have the right to a certain amount of paid holiday each year. Exactly how much time they can take off generally depends on how many hours they work as well as what is stated in their employment contract. Take a look at our holiday pay section for more details on holiday pay and entitlements.

Maternity and paternity leave

The birth of a child is a busy and stressful time, so it’s little surprise that employment laws grant new parents the right to take time off to recuperate and care for their new arrival. Find out about your rights and entitlements with our guides to maternity leave and paternity leave.

Sick leave

If you fall ill, you have the right to take time off work and you may also be entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). To find out more about sick leave and SSP entitlements, take a look at our sick leave page.

Parental leave and dependents

If you are a parent, or have other dependents such as elderly relatives who depend on you for their care, there may be times when you need to take time off work to attend to these responsibilities. Under the law, you have the right to take a certain amount of leave from your job in order to do this.

Our section on parental leave and dependents covers everything you need to know about taking time off to care for children or dependents, what you can do if there’s an emergency, and whether you are entitled to compassionate leave if a loved one dies.

Temporary lay-offs

In situations where there is not enough work for employees to do, your employer may decide that some employees will be temporarily laid off, meaning they do not attend work for a certain amount of time. You may retain your normal employment rights, including the right to be paid, during a lay-off, but this can depend on your employment contract and situation.

For full details of your rights in these circumstances, take a look at our page on temporary lay-offs.

Time off for public duties or training

If you wish to undergo training or another form of study, you may have the right to request time off work from your employer for this purpose. Likewise, you might be able to take leave from your job if you have been called for jury duty or have certain other responsibilities outside of work which fall into the category of “public duties”.

To find out more about your right to these forms of leave, take a look at our page explaining time off for public duties or training.

Problems with leave

If you feel that your employer is preventing you from taking leave that you are entitled to without a good reason, you may wish to take action against them. For advice on making a grievance, contacting Acas and making a claim with an employment tribunal, see our problems at work section.

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