Holiday entitlement and maternity leave: ask the expert

Am I entitled to use up the rest of my holiday entitlement before I go on maternity leave?

An employer can refuse that holiday is taken if inconvenient. Holiday can be tagged onto the end of maternity leave. Statutory holiday can not be paid in lieu so if carried over into a new year statutory leave must be taken then. If holiday is enhanced those days can be paid in lieu provided this is written in the contract.


Comments [4]

  • Rebecca says:

    I am currently on maternity leave and I am being told that I cannot book holidays for after I return to work until I actually return. It is normally a first come first served basis with holidays and a lot of people in my company will have already received their holidays – having to wait until I return will mean I get less chance of getting the holiday weeks I actually want. I am wanting to book a holiday abroad for the week after I am due to return so how would this work if I’m not actually allowed to book it until my return.

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi Rebecca,
      Do you mean attaching the annual leave you have accrued during maternity leave to the end of your maternity leave? That is normal practice and in fact ensures less disruption for your employer than you coming back and then going on leave again. You should be able to make a good business case for doing this – see Your employer is entitled to refuse a request for holiday to be taken at a specific time, eg if it is at a busy period, but must ensure you can take your holiday at some time in the holiday year. Holiday entitlement can be carried over from one year to another if you are on maternity leave.

  • Hannah says:


    If i started work part time 16 hours per week, on a prorata basis. How many days holiday am i allowed until 30th August.


  • Anonymous says:

    I was due to begin a fortnight's holiday in a few days and then immediately after begin my maternity leave. I have just been informed by my manager that after speaking to HR this is not allowed and that holidays will be accrued and given at the end of my maternity leave. Is this correct?

    Editor: You can take holiday before or after maternity leave, but employers can refuse to give leave at a certain time. However, they cannot refuse to let workers take leave at all. There are regulations about the amount of notice they have to give with regard to a refusal – see

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