Maternity leave and bank holidays

I am currently on maternity leave. Our holiday year runs April – April. I have accrued my 28 days, but  since being off, there have been seven bank holidays.  I’m not concerned with whether or not they can be carried over, just whether or not they have to give me these extra days, they are currently saying no.

I usually work a five-day week and would have bank holidays off. My contract says ‘the holiday entitlement is 28 days paid holiday per annum, excluding public holidays. We reserve the right to make any working day or days falling between 22nd December and 2nd January inclusive as compulsory holiday’. We always get ALL bank holidays off. What is my legal position?

mother with her baby


Maternity leave and bank holidays

Your employer has refused your request to an extra nine days holiday to cover the public holidays missed during your maternity leave.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 provides that a woman is entitled to all her terms and conditions during both the ordinary and additional maternity leave periods (OML and AML), apart from remuneration, as though she was at work.

The question is therefore are you contractually entitled to be paid for public holidays?

Maternity leave and pay

When answering this question it is necessary to consider both your contract of employment and the minimum statutory holiday entitlement for employees.

Looking at the minimum statutory entitlement, under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended) all full-time workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave.

Employees are included in the definition of a worker. This minimum 5.6 week entitlement amounts to 28 days. Part-time workers are entitled to the pro-rata equivalent.

Public/bank holidays can be included in or excluded from this statutory entitlement – as decided by an employer.

An employment contract will set out an employee’s holiday entitlement which can be more than the statutory minimum. If the contract provides for less than the statutory minimum then statute overrides the contract.

Holiday leave

If the contract allows for paid public holidays then these days should be part of your holiday entitlement and will accrue during maternity leave.

In your case, based on the facts supplied, your contract gives you 28 days excluding the public holidays.

It is not, however, clear under the contract whether the public holidays are actually paid, but based on your contract they do not appear to form part of your holiday entitlement.

You have stated that throughout your employment you have been paid for public holidays, presumably when the office was closed.

There is a strong argument that you have a contractual entitlement to paid public holidays when the office is closed on the basis that your employer has created a “custom and practice” that it will pay its employees during each public holiday when its office is closed.

This “custom and practise” has changed your contract and given you a contractual entitlement to be paid for public holidays.

However, your employer may argue that this contractual entitlement extends to the actual day of the public holiday it pays those employees who would normally be at work but for the closure due to the public holiday.

Your employer may try to argue that employees on maternity or long-term sick leave are not paid for public holidays. In practise, your employer paid you for example on Good Friday and Easter Monday, but presumably never allowed you to work these two public days and take two days extra holiday during the holiday year.

Therefore your employer will argue that the payment related to that day only and you could not use that day instead as extra holiday to be used at a different time.

The obligation to give a woman substitute leave for a contractual entitlement to public holidays that she was unable to take during her maternity leave was reinforced by the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) decision in Gomez in 2004.

This case concerned a fixed holiday period that fell during Ms Gomez’s maternity leave. The ECJ held that a woman must be able to take her annual leave at a time outside her maternity leave.

Bank/Public holidays are effectively a fixed day’s leave and it is believed that this principle should therefore be applied in such cases.

I think that you have a strong argument that through custom and practise you have a contractual entitlement to public holidays which should be added to your maternity leave.

Tell your employer about the Gomez case. If your employer still refuses, you can raise a grievance for non-payment of wages (holiday pay is included as wages) and potential sex discrimination.

My answer has been based on the facts provided, but I would suggest that you seek advice based on a review of your employment documents/actual situation.

Comments [93]

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I am currently due to go on maternity leave on the 1st May, I work 4 days a week part time (Monday to Thursday). My holiday entitlement as per my contract states ‘The company leave year runs from the 1st of Jan to the 31st of December. You are entitled to 20 days holiday excluding statutory / local holidays as agreed annually by the company.’
    From my understanding I am entitled to bank holidays during my maternity leave so does this mean I will be owed 5 days for the 5 bank holidays that will fall during my maternity leave? 2 of these days are on Fridays that I do not usually work so I’m not sure if I will still be entitled to these.

    • Mandy Garner says:

      If you get them normally ie when you are not on leave you should continue to accrue them while on maternity leave. Are you currently getting a pro rata of what full timers get? I am assuming the five days you mention are a pro rata of bank holidays.

  • Agnieszka says:

    Hi, I’m take 39weeks ML after that all my accrual AH 25days. However during my ML was 4BH. My contract says 25AH + 8BH. I wish to know if I’m entitle to those 4days too.

    • Mandy Garner says:

      If you work full time you are legally entitled to at least 28 days of annual leave, which can include bank holidays. These do not have to be given as extra. If you would normally get paid bank holidays off? As it states here, if there is a custom and practice argument you should get these.

  • Yanina says:

    I returned back to work from 1 year statutory maternity leave. My company normally allows 25 days paid holidays plus bank holidays/public holidays.
    HR informed me only 25 days of accrued annual leave is allowed as bank holidays/public holidays not covered by statutory maternity.
    I am slightly confused as the statutory minimum of holidays is 28 days per year.
    Can you please clarify and suggest how I can show the correct information to my HR team? Many thanks

    • Mandy Garner says:

      Hi Yanina,
      All employees are entitled to 28 days statutory annual leave. If your employer provides 28 days annual leave, including Bank Holidays, your employer should allow you to take paid holiday at another time.
      If you are entitled to 28 days annual leave, plus Bank Holidays on top, you should check your contract or maternity policy to see if you are allowed to take Bank Holidays or fixed holidays that fall during maternity leave at another time. If your employer allows employees who are sick on a bank holiday to take a day off in lieu, they should also allow women on maternity leave to do the same, as it could be discriminatory not to.

  • Karina says:

    Hi, I hope you will be able to help.

    I will be going on my maternity leave end of January for 12 months. My contract states 22 days plus 8 bank holidays. My HR says I can only have 22 days before going on my leave as bank holidays are part of SMP remuneration and I am paid for them as that. I am very confused as I thought I am entitled to 28 days minimum even though I will be having time off on bank holidays as I am on maternity leave. Please advise.

    • Mandy Garner says:

      Hi Karina,
      As the attached article states you should accrue bank holidays on maternity leave if you normally have paid leave on these days. In any event, if you work full-time you are entitled to at least 28 days in holidays which may or may not include bank holidays.

  • Sylvia says:

    Hi, I have taken 12 months of maternity leave and within this period there have been 7 days of bank holidays. I’m entitled to 28 days holiday, plus 8 days bank holiday (36 days in total) in a year.
    I have been told that i can only be paid for 28 days holiday, for the 7 days of bank holidays I am not able to be paid or carry over as I’m on maternity leave and not entitled to them. Is that right? I expected to be either paid or allowed to carry over.


  • manisha patel says:


    i wrk 15 hours a week shift work. my working pattern is thurs through to sunday. although there isno fixed contract in the days i work. my manager is not giving me bank holiday entitlement whilst i was on maternity leave. He is also saying that i work on friday and most bank holiday is on monday so im even entitled to less. i believe that i should be entitled to 15 pro rota ie 2/5 of bank hols. i disagree with him and my HR is not being as helpful as i would like. I also work other days when theres bank holidays for example im expected to work boxing day which is on a tuesday!


  • Melanie Mares says:

    Hi, I’m planning to go back to work but I have holiday to take at the end of my maternity leave. Will the holidays that I have accrued whilst off on maternity leave be based on my previous hours or my new reduced hours that I will be returning to work on? Many thanks

    • Mandy Garner says:

      It would depend when your contract changes. When was the change agreed and did it say when it dates from in the confirmation letter?

      • Alyssa says:

        I’m in the same boat and the letter states the date after my holidays end so I should get paid the hours I was originally on for my holidays taken at the end right?

  • nicola says:


    I started maternity leave from 1st june 2016 and am planning to hand my notice in at the end of the paid 39 weeks as the hours will no longer be suitable. I will have accrued 18.6 or 8 months worth of holiday days by this point which I understand I will still be entitled to be paid for, however my question is do we accrue these days at our standard salary pay rate or is it paid at smp pay rate?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I am currently on maternity leave. My company pay cmp as well as smp. The contractual maternity pay is a very good amount however I have been told that it is made up using a combination of holiday pay and maternity pay. This means that whilst on maternity leave I have holidays taken every so often to balance out they pay I recover each week. However when there is a bank holiday I receive two types of pay, maternity and holiday in one week?
    When I go back to work I will not have my full amount of holidays, they will be pro-rated. Or I can take unpaid leave asbI have apparently already recieved my holiday pay whilst on maternity leave. Is this correct?

  • victoria says:

    Hi, My husband will be having surgery on 26th September so will be booking 3 weeks annual leave during this period (as we will receive more in salary than SSP). When he has used all of his leave, he will then claim SSP for the remainder of his recovery period (thus being a few months). My question is:
    As his annual leave entitlement is immediately amended to remove 3/4 days that are taken off him for the Christmas period company closure, will he be entitled to re-claim those days back as he would not be there during that period to require them?

  • Rachael says:

    Can you/anyone help or give me some advice? I get 20 days holiday a year (before bank holidays), though 4 of these days have to be taken for Christmas. I am due to start maternity leave on 1st October but have been told I am only entitled to take 12.5 days holiday, 1/2 day which I have been asked to take for my Obstetrics appointment because I have to go to the hospital at least an hours drive away and will be out for about 4/5 hours. I thought I would be allowed the full 16 days off, as maternity leave should accrue normal holiday entitlements, have I got this twisted around my neck and they are right to only give me 12.5 days?

  • Bilqees Bano says:

    hi, I am on maternity leave May 2015 to May 2016 and they paid me for 9 months and I asked them to pay my paid holidays but they said you did not work so you are not entitle for paid annual leave. I am working part time and on my pay slip it is written 12 holidays remaining but they said i am not. please advise what should I do?

  • Lisa says:

    Hello I work for the NHS and started my maternity leave on September 2015. I managed to accrue my holidays so I can spend more time with baby and use the holidays accrued on the unpaid maternity leave part. My question is I’m I to factor in Xmas, new year and public holidays and deduct that from my accrued holidays or is this days I’m allowed to carry on?

  • Heidi Cambell says:

    Hi, I am returning to work following a full years maternity leave, I will have been off from July 2015 – July 2016. I’m planning to tag my remaining annual leave from 14/15 on to the end of the maternity leave plus bank holidays and then use some of my 15/16 year allowance to do a phased return working part time for a number of weeks (our leave allowance is April – April). My question is if I decided to leave 3 months after my maternity leave has ended, can the annual leave I have taken from both 2015 & the pro-rata annual lave I have taken from my 2016 count towards the three months that I must complete before leaving in order to not pay back my maternity pay? My yearly allowance is 30 days, I am choosing to take 15 days as I will leave in October and there is exactly half a year between April – October is 6 months.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’ve never been pregnant and will not be. I take my bank holidays on bank holiday days.
    So on August bank holiday I am off work and I notice that the person on maternity leave is also off work on that day.
    Surely it is unfair discrimination that somebody on maternity leave can be off work on a bank holiday and be paid for it, and then receive it again as part of their accrued holiday?
    Has the pendulum swung too far? Has the world gone mad? Why did Marathons become Snickers?

  • Becca says:

    Hi, I went on maternity leave from April until October of last year and miss 5 bank holidays during this period.

    Had I of been working I would get 25 days holiday plus 8 bank holidays, my company don’t add the bank holidays to the accrued holidays entitlement when you return from maternity leave upon questioning this they said they’ve never giving bank holidays back.

    Am I entitled to the 5 bank holidays back that I missed while on maternity leave?


    • Madeline Bates says:

      Hi Becca

      Did you receive any further advice?
      My query is exactly the same as yours and I have 25 days annual leave + and 8 bank holiday in my contract. My company refused all bank holiday that fell when I was been paid maternity pay.

      Kind regards

      • Mandy Garner says:

        The following answer from our experts gives advice on the situation with regard to bank holidays while you are on maternity leave – ie if you are accustomed to being given bank holidays as extra when you are not on maternity leave ie this is part of your contract through custom and practice – you should get them while you are on maternity leave.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am due to start maternity leave in June 2015, and will receive SML / statutory pay. I have been told that I will still accrue holidays, and can choose to tag these onto the start or the end of my leave.
    I have already decided that I don't want to return to work, but given that I have a good salary at the moment it seems to be in my interests to stay on maternity leave for the full year, or at least up until my notice period requires me to hand in my notice, in order to benefit from a full year of holiday pay. However, this feels like being a bit dishonest, and I'm not 100% sure on the rules if I don't come back.
    Is it legally acceptable to take a full year off, and then not come back, and still get paid for the full year of holidays? If so, does it get paid as a lump sum when I resign? Can my employer refuse? Is this normal practice for people who have decided not to return after mat leave?
    Many thanks

    Editor: Legally you can choose to resign at any point in your maternity leave and you would be paid for any holiday accrued up to the point when you cease employment.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am due to start maternity leave on 22 June 2015. I work part time Monday Tuesday and Wednesday 9.00 to 5.00. I intend to take my full year out and return to work on 22nd June 2016. At present I have 12 days holiday a year plus the appropiate bank holidays that fall in my working hours. My employer is not in dispute that I should be paid for bank holidays and is quoting 4 days, is this correct?

    Editor: You should get a pro rata of bank holidays. There are eight bank holidays in England, if this is where you are, and so you would get three fifths of these.


  • Anonymous says:

    can you advise I work for the NHS Trust and I want to reduce my hours to part time. If I then decided after 3 months I want to leave my job would I have to pay back any of my salary received on maternity leave.

    Editor: Did you receive enhanced maternity pay? If so, you would need to check if you would be liable to pay back any of the enhanced element if you do not return to work for a period over three months. It should not make a difference if you return part time or full time, but do check the policy as every organisation has a different policy on enhanced pay.

  • Anonymous says:


    Can you please advise. my contract advises I have 30 days plus bank holidays.

    my maternity starts on 11/6/2015, am I entitled to 39 weeks plus the 8 days bank holidays and my 30 days holiday at the end of the maternity

    Editor: You should be allowed to take your annual leave at the beginning or end of your maternity leave. The government allows you to carry over four weeks' leave to another leave year if you are on maternity leave. If your contract allows you to take bank holidays as extra during maternity leave then you would get these as well since they are over and above minimum annual leave.

  • Anonymous says:

    i am entitled to and get full pay for 28 days company holiday and 8 bank holidays.
    I am due to commence maternity leave and my employer states I am only entitled to 28 days leave – is this correct?
    In addition 4 of the bank holidays fall whilst i'm on SMP or unpaid so i am financially disadvantaged is this correct?

    Editor: Please read the detailed response above by Ruth Renton. Normally you would accrue leave to be taken before or after your maternity leave unless you choose not to return to work, in which case it would be added to your final pay cheque.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello. I wrote the above comment. My boss enquired with the accountant and this is what the accountant came back with: "I have been paid my bank holidays under SMP and that this is the normal way for when one is on maternity leave. This is why the dates I mentioned such as Christmas and Easter and all the other bank holidays I miss out on will not be added onto my holidays for when I return".

    I am a bit confused as to how this works when my work contract (which I believe the accountant does not have a copy of) reads that I am entitled to all bank holidays and my 26 holiday days?
    For the month where there was a bank holiday I was only paid SMP. I didn't see a difference in oay either. Other women I know who are on SMP told me that their days were added to the holidays and some even got theirs paid out? So how do I now go about this? I feel its unfair to miss out of these because I am on maternity leave.

    Editor: You wouldn't necessarily get paid extra for the bank holidays, but you would continue to accrue them in the normal way as with all annual leave so they should let you take them unless they explicitly state that you cannot take bank holidays if you are off for any extended period such as sick leave in your contract.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I am on my maternity leave for a year. My holidays run from 1st Jan – 31st Dec. In addition to public holidays I have got 26 days paid holiday. Does this mean I am entitled to the 8 bank holiday days I accrued whilst on maternity leave once I am back to work this year?

    Editor: You continue to accrue all annual leave in the normal way while on maternity leave, including bank holidays, so you should negotiate with your employer how you might take this, particularly if your employer does not normally allow leave to be carried over.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, my maternity leave starts tomorrow 22nd January and I still have 7 working days left to take till end of March 2015. HR says, I can only have 4 days add to 22nd January as I haven't worked till end of March yet. Is this true? I work 3 days a week.

    Editor: Uusally employers let those going on maternity leave either add their holiday to before or after they are on leave. You should not lose that leave so if they cannot give it to you before you go on leave, you should ask if you can tack it onto the end. You should not lose it if they try to argue that leave cannot be carried over from one year to another. 

  • Anonymous says:

    My contract states under section a of Holiday Entitlement that I am entitled to 25 days holiday per year and then under section c it also says that I get paid 8 days bank holiday per year. My employer however is saying I will not be paid for the bank holidays whilst on maternity leave. I have made them aware that people in other regions of our company have been paid for bank holidays whilst on maternity leave and they gave said this should not have happened. Any advice on how I should respond would be really appreciated/

    Editor: You continue to accrue all leave, including bank holidays, in the normal way during maternity leave so I would point this out informally at first to your employer.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am due to go on Maternity leave on 28th November 2014. My employee contract is for 20 days annual leave but for each year you have worked here, you earn an additional day (maximum 25 days). I am currently on 24 days annual leave. I dont work bank holidays, our office is open however my department is not required to work bank holidays or weekends. Please can you advise if I would therefore accrue bank holidays during my maternity leave or do I lose out on these?

    Editor: Full-time workers are entitled to at least 28 days a year annual leave. This can include bank holidays. If you are working full time you should get at least 28 days a year so you would need the bank holidays to take you up to the legal minimum. If you do get bank holidays currently to take you up to 28 days you should continue to accrue these during your maternity leave. I would clarify the situation on leave and bank holidays with your employer.

  • Anonymous says:

    i have been on maternity leave for 9 months and am now back at work. my working week before maternity leave was tuesday to saturday but whilst i was away they phoned me and changed my shift to monday to friday. the date i had given them for my return to work was a tuesday as this would have been the start of a new week for me but now that they've changed my days, they asked me to start back on the monday which i unfortunately couldnt as i already had committments due to the fact that i didnt know about the change of shift. i then asked them if i could take that day (the monday) as a days holiday as it would leave my money short for the week now that they had taken the saturday off me. the reply was that i wasnt entitled to it as i hadnt got any holiday as i hadnt been at work to accrue it? is this right as i have read and read about it and i thought i was entitled to my full annual holiday as it should accrue normally whilst on maternity leave? please help

    Editor: You continue to accrue annual leave in the normal way while on maternity leave.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I went on maternity leave October 2013, I used up all my holiday entitlement before I started my leave. Upon returning to work in August 2014, I asked my employer if I could reduce my hours and work just two days a week, rather than my usual 5. Am I right in thinking that I will have accrued my usual holiday entitlement of 28 days pro rata, before I came back to work, even though I am now only working two days a week? This would mean I can take off, 16 days accrued and 4 days off based on the remaining 5 months of the year. Holiday entitlement runs from Jan to Jan, therefore should I be able to take 20 days holiday in the next 5 months even though I'm only working 2 days per week?

    Editor: I am a bit confused. Have you used up all your holiday entitlement for 2014 before you went on leave or just for 2013? If just for 2013, you would continue to accrue leave during your absence on the normal full-time rate [ie 7 x 28 divided by 12 – around 16 days] until you started working the changed hours and then you would get a pro rata of the remaining months of the year at the reduced amount [ie 5 x 11 – which is around two fifths of 28 – divided by 12 which is around five days rounded up – this would give you a total of around 21 days for the whole year].

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi there, i went on mat leave in April and was planning on returning in October. However now I wish to return in January. My companies' policy states all leave needs to be taken by the end of the year, we can't carry any over and it can't be paid out to us. If i return in January I've been told I'll loose this year's annual leave entitlement. Due to a project we were on there was a leave freeze so i was unable to take my leave before i left. I also didn't have an opportunity to discuss what impact this would have on me with my manager, so i was unaware of this situation prior to going on leave. They said as i was expected to return in October i would have time to take it (25 days) before the end of the year. I therefore feel I'm being forced back to work in November which gives me the time to take the leave before the end of the year. I am not sure what they would have done if i had requested January initially, as I wouldn't have been able to take any leave (they would have had to pay it out), surely it's only fair that this would still apply if i change my return date? Thanks

    Editor: see

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi there, i went on mat leave in April and was planning on returning in October. However now I wish to return in January. My companies' policy states all leave needs to be taken by the end of the year, we can't carry any over and it can't be paid out to us. If i return in January I've been told I'll loose this year's annual leave entitlement. Due to a project we were on there was a leave freeze so i was unable to take my leave before i left. I also didn't have an opportunity to discuss what impact this would have on me with my manager, so i was unaware of this situation prior to going on leave. They said as i was expected to return in October i would have time to take it (25 days) before the end of the year. I therefore feel I'm being forced back to work in November which gives me the time to take the leave before the end of the year. I am not sure what they would have done if i had requested January initially, as I wouldn't have been able to take any leave (they would have had to pay it out), surely it's only fair that this would still apply if i change my return date? Thanks

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says: She is being given the opportunity to take it if she returns in good time. I would advise that she does that given the company's policy.

  • Anonymous says:

    Re my comment above my first maternity leave was in 2012 until 2013 and they do allow me to carry days over.

    Editor: Our HR expert Tara Daynes says: Bank holidays just form part of the total statutory holiday entitlement – there are no special rules around entitlement to them as far as I'm aware. All holidays can be accrued during maternity leave & carried over to the following year, but not indefinitely. So it depends on the details of the situation really – total entitlement, what you actually got etc. If you believe you have not been given your full statutory entitlement you can make a claim for it as a breach of contract, but you may have left it too late, or they may say it is your own fault for not taking them when you should have, or that you received the total statutory entitlement & the rest was contractual & therefore can't be carried over. It is always worth asking though.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I am 35 weeks pregnant with my second child and this is the second time at I am going off on maternity leave at the same company. I have 30 days holiday plus bank holidays in my contract. This time around after a fight they have agreed to let me accrue my bank holidays but during my previous maternity leave they didn't. Do I have a claim to request them to consider either paying me or giving me the days back for the bank holidays I should have accrued during my first maternity leave? Thanks for any advise you can give!

    Editor: Do they allow you to carry over leave? How long ago was this? It is unlikely that you would get them to agree to give you the extra days now and you would need to consider whether it is politically worth it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi there,

    Do you know if teachers can claim pay/days in lieu for bank holidays whilst on maternity?

    Thanks in advance

    Editor: You continue to accrue bank holidays on maternity leave in the normal way.

  • Anonymous says:

    i work 37.5hrs per week and have 20.75hrs left, how many days is this?

    Editor: It depends how many hours you work in any given day. If it is seven you would have around three.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi I've returned to work on 12th May after Maternity Leave but my employer has still not advised me of this years annual leave allowance and is asking me to tell him how many annual leave days I have accrued. It is a small business we have no HR department. I am really stuck.
    I started maternity leave on July 11th 2013 and returned to work 12th May 2014. Holiday year runs from 1st Jan to 31st December. My contract states 'full entitlement is 20 days holiday plus Public hoildays paid at employees own rate.' No holidays may be carried over.
    As I understand it I have accrued full holiday allowance from 1st January to 12th May, then the rest of the year is pro rated holiday. However I have returned to work on a part time basis from 12th May (3 days per week instead of 5 days per week). My employer thinks that I should have taken the accrued holiday allowance before returning on 12th May, I was not informed of this prior to returning to work and feel I was not given the opportunity to take this accrued leave. My employer also thinks that the Bank holidays that fell in Maternity leave (4 out of 8 this year) should not be accrued as I was 'off work' on maternity leave.
    Any advice is welcome, are my calculations correct?

    Accrued annual leave whilst on Mat. Leave 1st Jan to 12th May (1.666 days x 4.5 Months) = 7.5 AL days accrued
    4 bank Holidays 1st Jan to 12th May accrued.
    Total 11.5 days
    Part time Annual leave for remainder of 2014 (1.666 days x 7.5 months = 12.5 days pro rated on 3/5ths = 7.5 days Annual leave
    4 Bank holidays in the calendar year falling between 12th May and 31st Dec to be taken on the day they fall.

    = 19 days to be taken + 4 bank holidays?

    How are my full time accrued AL allowance prior to 12th May to be treated after returning on a part time basis? Can they be paid or do I have a right to ask they be added to my AL allowance?

    Editor: You continue to accrue all holiday, including bank holidays on leave and your leave would only change to pro-rata after you started a new flexible work pattern. With regard to carrying holiday over, normally accrued leave is attached to the beginning or end of maternity leave to get round this problem.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey, i am 18 weeks preg, i started working july 2013, took 34 days holiday in Sept-Oct(i have been paid for it.) I got preg in March 2014. i continued working till mid April but then really got sick so took days off. I am not entitled to get SMP as my one year is not completed at work but i can get Maternity Allowance if i have completed 26 weeks. I found out that i have to start calculating my 26 weeks from Aug, 25th '13.
    My Question is will that 4 weeks & 4 days (34 days Holidays) will be counted in the 26 weeks count for entitlement of Maternity Allowance? Thanks.

    Editor: For MA it only matters that you were employed for 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your due date so if you were on sick leave you would still have been employed.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, my employer has agreed to pay me 24weeks on full pay when i go on maternity. Christmas & New Year will fall during this time which usually forms part of our 28days a year holiday entitlement (paid). Would i still be able to "claim" these days as accrued at the end of my maternity leave? Also, Easter would fall during my maternity leave but at the lower rate pay, If i cant claim Xmas, how about Easter.

    Editor: If bank holidays are normally part of your annual leave then you would continue to accrue them on maternity leave.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have not seen any policy where it states they will not grant bank holidays to people on maternity. Do you think i should go back and ask if they have a written policy? i have alse been in contact with ACAS – they are going to send me a form to fill out so they can set up a mediation with the company i work for.
    Many thanks,

    Editor: You could ask for this and if they don't respond, you could consider lodging a grievance, although it might be better to go through the Acas process first before escalating to a grievance.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have just returned to work having had 22 weeks maternity leave. Whilst on maternity leave there were 6 bank holiday day's. I have been told by HR that the company legal team investigated my complaint and said "its company policy not to accrue bank and public holidays during maternity in addition to other holiday. The company considers that by providing holiday entitlement in excess of the statutory minimum and ensuring that my statutory entitlement does accrue during maternity leave, i'm receiving my legal entitlement."
    my contract states that i'm entitled to 28 days plus bank and public holidays, based on full-time working hours.
    I have also heard other people in the company have received there bank/ public holidays whilst on maternity leave. I feel i'm not getting anywhere with HR as the last email they sent saying they were unable to escalate this any further, as the decision is final.
    Can you asvise on what i should do next?
    Many thanks,

    Editor: Is this policy of not granting bank holidays to people on maternity leave written down anywhere in the company's maternity policy? The above answer sets out the legal case with regards to accruing bank holidays during maternity leave and possible next steps.

  • Anonymous says:


    I am looking to hand in my notice shortly but trying to wait until I hit the 1year back at work since maternity leave so I don't have to pay anything back.

    I took the bank holidays accrued at the end of my maternity leave – would my return to work date be the date of the accrued bank holidays as maternity had officially ended or the date I physically returned to the office?

    Many thanks.

    Editor: Holiday would normally count as being back at work. Check your enhanced maternity policy.

  • Anonymous says:

    I work for a FTSE 100 company and am entitled to 25 days holiday all to be taken when i want. My company offers no maternity pay so all statutory. Am i entitled to reimbursement for the 8 bank holidays i will miss whilst on maternity leave?

    Editor: You continue to accrue annual leave in the normal way during maternity leave and the usual policy is to either take that leave before or directly after your maternity leave with your employer's agreement so speak to your manager.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been on maternity leave since the 7th October but took 4 weeks holiday prior to maternity leave. I plan on my return date being the 7th July, therefore I will have taken 9 months maternity. I plan on a xtending my maternity leave with accrued holiday added at the end therefore returning on the 4th August. Unfortunately I cannot afford to go to zero pay. I have not informed my employer of my plans at the moment but was wondering if they were legally obliged to accept my holiday request tagged onto my maternity given that I won't be taking a full year that I am entitled to. This is the paragraph from my maternity policy booklet Accrued holidays during the AML/AAL period, including public/bank holidays should be taken at the end of the AML/AAL period and before returning to work by arrangement with the line manager. Should holiday accrued from the AML/AAL period not be used prior to return to work, then it can be carried forward to the next holiday year and must be taken as soon as possible."
    Many thanks in advance

    Editor: Employers have to give minimum annual leave, but they can turn down specific holiday requests if the timing is not right. It is a good idea to inform your employer of your intentions as soon as possible. It may make sense to add it to the end of your mat leave, as many do, as they can just extend the maternity cover, but it is good for them to have as much warning as possible so they can plan.

  • Anonymous says:

    Our holiday year runs from January to January. The company gives the minimum statutory holidays of 20 days plus bank holidays. They also offer the statutory basic maternity leave package that the law requires. Looks like they are unable to offer flexible working / staggered return to work due to 'structural changes', if this is the case I will need to regrettably hand in my notice a month before my maternity leave ends. This will be around end of April. I have been on maternity leave since April last year. Will the company have to pro rata pay 28 days holiday in my final pay packet from the January to end of April inclusive?

    Editor: You continue to accrue leave over maternity leave in the usual way so the company should pay any accrued leave when you resign, for which you must give your contractual notice. 

  • Anonymous says:

    I have just returned to work after 9 months maternity leave and prior to leaving I had a conversation with HR who advised I would accrur bank holidays whilst on maternity however on return they say I won't and as I had a telephone conversation prior to leave I have no evidence of it. I get 26 days annual leave working 5 days a week full time (we do get to days over xmas as a good will by the employer) my contract states that staff are entitled to public holidays as days of leave (of which there were 4 whilst on maternity leave) should I be entitled to add these 4 days on to my entitlement on return?

    Editor: You continue to accrue annual leave, including bank holidays, in the usual way while on maternity leave.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi I'm due to go on mat leave on June. My holidays run from feb to feb. They always make us save 7 for Christmas and they are saying I still have to save them even though I won't be there?! Is this the case or can I take them before June?

    Editor: You still accrue holiday while on maternity leave in the normal way, but you have to negotiate with your employer over when you take that – either before or after your maternity leave. See

  • Anonymous says:

    Hoping you can help me as I am very confused! I work part time over 2 and 1/2 days a wk and therefore gain pro rata bank holidays, my bank holiday allowance for 2013-2014 was 31.5 hrs. I started maternity leave in June 2013 therefore having already used 10.5 hrs of my bh allowance for the April and May bank holidays (3.5 hrs each day) I'm currently planning my return to work and my employer seems to have taken bank holidays off me whilst I have been off on maternity leave as follows:-

    August bh holiday 3.5 hrs
    Xmas day 9hrs
    Boxing Day 10hrs
    New Year's Day 9hrs

    Totalling 31.5 hrs.

    Firstly this means I have had to use 10.5 hrs of my own annual leave to have all these bank holiday hrs deducted. Secondly for the august bank holiday I was receiving half pay however the remaining ones I was only in receipt of SMP, therefore technically have not been paid for them. Are they allowed to do this? My maternity policy says I retain all me normal contractual rights except remuneration.

    Editor: You continue to accrue annual leave in the same way as normal while on maternity leave.

  • Anonymous says:

    Can you help me. I am due on the 19th of May and my company is telling me I must take all of my holiday entitlement for the year before I start my Maternity. I should say I am in Scotland so the whole Bank Holiday thing is not an issue for me as they refer to them as Public Holidays and they are flexible to allow for the differing Local holiday system we have here. I also carried over days from last year and therefore currently have 32.5 days holidays. As I feel well and enjoy the challenge of my work I'm not keen on effectively going on Maternity at the end of March. Can the company "buy back" my holidays (pay me for them in my final pay before I go on Maternity?). They only allow us to carry over 5 days in any one year and these must be taken by the end of March the following year. Or is there some other way I can be paid for them rather than being forced to take them?

    Just as a note I can also accrue Time Off in Lieu when I work more than 37.5 hours per week and have a fair few hours sitting so can always flex days off if I require.

    Editor: Your employer can require you to take all or any of your holiday at a particular time, as long as they give you the right notice at the right time and take into account certain agreements between you so check your contract.

    As long as an employer gives their employee the right notice at the right time, they could make you take your holiday as they choose, for example, take every Friday as leave until you have used up all of your holiday.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks but would I be entitled to the 8 days bank holiday plus the period in between xmas and new years on full pay whilst I'm on leave? And would I be able to take the 25 plus 8 at the start as full pay before my statutory maternity leave?

    Editor: What holiday does it say you are due in your contract? Additional shutdown days are discretionary rather than a contractual entitlement, so it would be up to the employer to say if people can take those days in other circumstances (eg pro-rata'd, carried over, or accrued while on maternity, long term sick or other leave). All contractual entitlements continue to accrue on maternity leave though.

    With regard to when you take annual leave, you have to negotiate when you take annual leave with your employer. Your employer cannot give you anything less than the minimum 28 days a year in annual leave, but they can turn down leave at a certain time for business reasons.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am due beginning of April.
    I am a full-time worker and will be taking a year off statutory maternity leave. I would like to stop working end of February this year.
    I have leave already owing from last year (15 days) and have recently been in contact with my HR to establish whether I can use my holiday (to be accrued on maternity at the start of my leave) and also whether bank holidays are included.
    From below I think she has pretty much said that I will not be entitled to paid bank holiday when I am on leave. 28 days to be paid (We get 25 days annual leave plus bank hols plus the period inbetween Xmas and New years).
    Also we have always been allowed to carry over leave to the next year as from Oct – Dec are extremely busy and we tend to do a lot of overtime.

    I would really appreciate your thoughts below please?
    I would also like to establish if holiday year runs from Jan – Dec, and I leave in March- how many days of annual leave am I entitled to before I take mat leave?

    This is what HR said:
    The entitlement to accrue and have a minimum of 28 days holiday is in line with the working time regulations. The regs say a minimum of 28 days inclusive of bank hols.

    Your own contract will say that you cannot carry over without authorisation-

    You must take your holiday within the current holiday year, as holidays cannot be carried forward to the next year, without the prior written authorisation of your Manager. Authorisation to carry unused holiday entitlement forward will only be given in exceptional circumstances, and will only apply to holidays in excess of the minimum statutory holiday entitlement. No payment will be made in lieu for holidays not taken in the current holiday year.

    Therefore as you wont be able to take your annual holidays or bank holidays if not at work, you have to rely on the statutory entitlement of a minimum of 28 days holiday to be carried over and taken at a later stage (this has been ECJ interpretation) if it is not possible for you to take it all in the current holiday year in question. This is also based on maternity regulations that you should not be treated less favourable or suffer a determent because of the pregnancy/maternity leave.

    Maternity regulations do state that you are not allowed to receive remuneration during leave other than SMP, so the taking of paid holiday will end the maternity leave period.

    You can agree to start your leave after a period of taken holiday.

    Most employers come to an agreement depending on the actual date of birth as to when the employee will take the accrued holiday. You are likely to be able to utilise a little more holiday on return.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Editor: You continue to accrue leave in the normal way while on maternity leave so whatever you would get normally you are entitled to in your contract. With regard to carrying leave over that is down to negotiations with your employer. They seem to be open to negotations on you taking some leave at the beginning of your mat leave and some at the end.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I am due to go on maternity leave in June. However, it has not been decided the exact date yet as I am only 16 weeks. However, I am really confused about my holiday entitlement before I leave for maternity. I am allowed 28 days holiday which includes bank holidays and Christmas so really I have 16 days to myself. I wanted to take these before I go on maternity leave so I can leave a few weeks earlier. However, I wasn't sure if I could take 16 days before I leave or the whole 28 days before I leave? Can anyone help? The company I work for is a small company with no HR and I am the person who works out how much holiday for the year everyone is entitled to. However, I know nothing about the maternity situation and I don't think my boss will either. Thanks.

    Editor: Do you mean you have 28 days for the year you will be off on maternity leave? You can either add these on the beginning or the end of your maternity leave, but some companies do not allow you to carry leave over from one year to another. You could split the leave and add two weeks at the beginning of your leave and two at the end, but, as with all annual leave, you would have to get agreement from your employer and the sooner you do that the more they can plan ahead.

  • Anonymous says:

    My employer paid maternity pay just for 38 weeks. Is that right? Also I didn't got bank holiday pay after this,normally they paid it to me. Is bank holiday only paid full during 9 month of maternity term?

    Editor: SMP should be for 39 weeks. If you are normally paid for bank holidays you should continue to be paid in this way unless your company has changed policy, in which case it should have consulted you. Have you queried this with your employer?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I will be off on maternity leave in may and our holiday year ends end of march. Does this mean I should take my 28 days holiday before I go off on maternity leave as I have to accrue my holidays when I return to work after maternity leave.

    Editor: Do you mean your March 2014-15 holidays? You continue to accrue leave while on maternity leave in the normal way, but if you cannot carry leave over from one year to another you need to bring this up with your manager asap and ask if you can either take it before your mat leave or tack it on afterwards.

  • Anonymous says:

    Another question about bank holidays. Our bank holidays are added to our annual leave entitlement. We are then expected to work on bank holidays unless we take leave. Do I accrue to my bank holiday proportion of my annual leave whilst on maternity leave? I should mention I work part time (80% full time). Full timers get 32 days + 8 days bank holidays so I get 32 days total in a year.

    Editor: You would be eligible for your normal holiday entitlement so if that is 32 days then that is what you would get. Part timers are entitled to a pro rata equivalent of full time leave which would be 80% of 40 days.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I am hoping you can help me. I currently have 23 days holiday plus the bank holidays (however, I work a lot on call so am expected to work some of these). My holiday period runs from 1st March to end of feb. What I want to know is can I take my full holiday entitlement prior to going on Maternity Leave or after and will it be paid at my normal salaried rate. i.e., if I take it after my maternity leave ends, am I entitled to it as at my normal rate? I am due on 16th May this year. Many Thanks

    Editor: You can tack holiday onto the beginning or end of your maternity leave, but you need to get agreement from your employer in the normal way when booking leave. It would be paid at the normal rate. An employee continues to accrue annual leave during her maternity leave and the employer should apply their normal rules on taking and carrying forward annual leave. Employees should be encouraged to take as much annual leave as possible within each leave year to avoid a large accrual of leave. An employee cannot take paid annual leave during her maternity leave and then resume her maternity leave but she can end her maternity leave early, if she gives the correct notice, and take the time off on paid annual leave.

    The law is currently unclear about what happens if a woman is unable to take all her annual leave in the relevant period because of her maternity leave, but she may have a claim for payment in lieu of annual leave if she has been unable to take her annual leave in the relevant period. The law currently says that an employee must take her statutory annual leave in the leave year in which it accrues.

    Any contractual annual leave (over and above the statutory minimum of 28 days for full timers) may be carried over to a new leave year, if provided for by the contract. Employers may use their discretion to allow contractual leave to be carried forward to avoid claims for a payment in lieu.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am due to return to work on Monday, having been on maternity leave for 9 months from 4th Feb 2013. My employment contract states I am entitled to 27.5 days annual leave plus bank holidays of which there were 5 whilst I was on maternity leave. My employer has said I am not entitled to the bank holidays to take as additional leave and only the accrued annual leave. Is this correct? The contract also states that if an employee is not scheduled to attend on a bank holiday they are entitled to a bank holiday credit. This means that part time staff receive pro-rata bank holidays. Surely being on maternity leave would also mean I am 'not scheduled to attend'? I am not required to work bank holidays normally but take the day off. Please could you advise?

    Editor: You continue to accrue all leave in the normal way while on maternity leave.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I am currently 18 weeks pregnant and was going to start my mat leave on my due date and wanted to take my full holiday entitlement before then as my hols run jan-jan and i wont be due back until feb/march 2015. A colleague of mine who is also pregnant was planning to do the same thing but has since been told from HR that she can only take 2 weeks and has to keep the rest until she returns and the reason for this is 'in case she leaves the company'. When her mat leave is up on 17th dec she will have accrued all of her holidays anyway.

    Is our employer allowed to do this?

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says: Potentially a company can refuse how a woman takes her holiday linked to her maternity leave. Sometimes the refusal can be to do with workload. Usually a holiday clause in the contract allows for pay deductions if too much holiday has been taken if someone resigns. It is best to calculate what holiday is owed on a pro rata basis up to the time the woman returns from maternity leave to avoid that happening.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I was on maternity leave from December 2012 till September 2013. Now after 2 months I have decided to leave, my manager is saying that because I was on my maternity I will only be entitled to holidays for the 2 months that I came back and not from the beginning of the month. Our holiday start from April to April.

    Editor: You still accrue annual leave during maternity leave so you should be entiteld to any outstanding leave for this holiday year.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am due to return to work from maternity leave in February.

    Prior to maternity leave I worked for two days a week, Mondays and Wednesdays.

    Over a calendar year my entitlement to bank holidays was negative ie I owed the company back 2-3 days (covered by me making up the time when I was at work).

    Does this mean I will still owe the company these days back, despite being on maternity leave in 2013? I'm not sure how I could have worked the extra hours in this situation, as I have been on maternity leave.

    I understand the situation for full time workers, but part time workers on mat leave seem to do better/ worse depending on the days they work, despite not actually working during that time! I should have changed my working days before going on leave!

    Editor: You would not owe any days back for time taken for maternity leave.

  • Anonymous says:

    I start my maternity leave next week and my employer has agreed to pay full pay for first 6 weeks. I have 10 days holiday left for this year and I wish to take now before my maternity pay begins. I get 25 days a year which include public holidays. As my maternity falls over christmas day and new years day which we would be closed and I am on full pay over this period would I be entitled to take these days in the 10 days I have left…it would mean I was paid twice but I dont know how this works.

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says: "The statutory holiday entitlement (ie holiday you are entitled to in law) is 20 days + bank holidays therefore in a 12-month period you are entitled to 28 days holiday.  You can take your outstanding holiday entitlement before your maternity leave commences and you receive full pay. If you cannot carry leave over from one year to another your employer can pay you, provided both of you are in agreement with that.

    During your maternity leave you don’t get bank holidays + holidays as you are on leave anyway; the holidays just accrue and you can take them directly after your maternity leave period ends so you delay your return to work a big longer or take the holidays possibly after you return to work.  Many women chose to take their accrued holidays tagged onto the end of their maternity leave so they remain at home longer but on full pay.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was on maternity leave from 5th March 2012 to 27th December 2012. my contract states that my holiday entitlement includes bank holidays. the problem I have is that I took the 6 extra days holiday later in the year, these were authorised by my manager and she was aware that they were the 6 extra days but when I got my pay check I was £150 short. When I ask why, I was told that I had taken to much holiday.

    my works holiday entitlement runs from September to September and they said that because the bank holidays fell within a different period to when I took them off, I was not allowed to transfer them from one period to another. My argument is how am I suppose to take them in the same period while the maternity leave staggers two periods?
    I have been trying for the last three months to get back the money but my H.R department keep saying that I'm not entitled to the pay.

    What can I do?? please help

    Editor: If your work do not let you carry annual leave over from one year to another then they are in the right. Annual leave can be added either before or after maternity leave.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have recently found out that my employer has changed their maternity leave policy with regards to bank holiday accrual.

    It states in their FAQs:

    Am I entitled to bank holidays, Statutory and Extra-statutory Holidays whilst on maternity leave?

    Yes*. Bank holidays will be paid as a lump sum on your return to work. You will only be paid for those bank holidays which fall when you are in half and/or nil pay in order to reflect a full day's pay.

    *The implementation date for this was 1 April 2013, so if you are already on maternity leave at 1 April 2013 or started maternity leave after the 1 April 2013 you will get paid for bank holidays, it will not apply to those who have returned to employment before the 1 April 2013.

    As I work for a university, in my contract we are entitled to 25 days annual leave plus an additional 12 that cover university closure.

    I have queried why they will only pay bank holidays from April 13 as all our terms and conditions of contract are the same. Their answer was that maternity regs provide no right to remuneration and this supercedes our contract.

    Can you confirm if they are correct? Surely I could argue I have suffered a detriment with this policy. Also, if I went on maternity leave since this policy change, I would be better off and get all the holidays paid!

    Editor: Our employment lawyer Sejal Raja says:
    There are two issues: firstly, whether the University can amend their policy and, secondly, whether the individual has suffered a detriment.

    Whether the University can change a policy will be subject to any clauses in their handbook and contract of employment.  It may well be that they have consulted with the unions before making the change and agreed a start date for the change.

    In relation to payment of annual leave over and above the statutory entitlement. The position is as follows: an employee must be given the right to take their statutory annual leave entitlement (whilst on maternity leave) which is currently 28 days.  If an employee’s contract provides for 20 days; holiday plus 8 public holidays, namely 28 days of statutory annual leave, then the employee must be given her right to take her statutory annual leave before or after maternity leave and cannot be paid for the public holidays.

    However, as in this case, the employee’s contract is more generous, i.e. she is entitled to 25 days plus 8 public holidays, the position is more complicated.

    The position on statutory annual leave deals with her 25 days plus 3 of the public holidays. The question then remains as to whether she should be allowed to take time in lieu for the further 5 public holidays.

    This depends on whether the right to public holidays are viewed as essentially a right to remuneration or time off which can be accrued. Current UK authorities suggest that the  additional holidays amount to the right to remuneration.

    There is ECJ authority which suggests that the right to holidays should be accrued. The University have taken the view that the right to holiday should be accrued, hence making the payment.

    My suggestion is that she should raise a grievance in relation to this which may result in her receiving payment for the holidays.

  • Anonymous says:

    My employer has sent me an email with the following breakdown. (See below)

    In 2011 I went on mat leave October 21st. I took 28 days annual leave and was at work for 7 bank holidays (including Kate and wills extra wedding bank holiday) and was on maternity leave from end of October (meaning Christmas and Boxing Day occurred whilst on mat leave)
    So in total had 35 days off in 2011 which means I should be left with 2 days to carry over by my employers own calculation.

    However she is saying I am not allowed to carry over those 2 days of leave .

    This seems nonsensical to me. As she has clearly written in her breakdown what I am entitled to. Please see below. I went on mat leave again March 2013 and I'm due to go back March 2014.

    Before I went in maternity leave she verbally agreed I could have the 2 to carry over from 2011 but I was not given anything in writing and now she seems to have forgotten the whole conversation

    Please help

    Email from employer as follows.

    Here is a breakdown of all the leave you have taken

    2011 = 28 days taken & Bank Holidays
    28 March – 1 April
    4-8 April
    17 & 20 June
    25 -29 July
    1 & 3 August
    12-16 September
    26-30 September
    12 & 14 October
    20 & 21 October

    2012 = 19 days & 1 bank Holiday
    23 – 27 July
    30 July – 3 August
    13 & 14 September
    17 – 21 September
    24 September
    15-19 October
    19-23 November

    2013 = 23 days & 2 Bank Holidays
    25 January
    4 – 8 March
    11 – 15 March
    18 – 22 March
    25 – 28 March
    4 & 5 April
    8 – 12 April
    15 – 19 April
    22 – 26 April

    Your allowance for each year is as follows:

    2011 – Fulltime = 27 days annual leave and the 8 statutory holidays plus 2 extra
    2012 split year = 23.5 days annual leave and 8.5 bank holiday
    2013 onwards 75% part time = 20.25 days and 7.5 bank holidays in total

    2011 – 0
    2012 – 12 to carry over
    2013 – 2.75 to carry over

    = 14.75 to carry over

    2014 allowance = 20.25 annual leave plus 7.5 bank holiday days. You will need 7 bank holiday days to cover the ones in 2014 for which you will have returned to work.

    Therefore bookable days for 2014 allowance = 20.75

    The dates I suggested in my email (27 jan – 28 Feb) account for the 14.75 from 2013 carry over plus 0.25 from the 2014 allowance, leaving 20.50 remaining.

    Editor: If you have written evidence of leave you can take, what is her argument against this? Is she now saying that leave cannot be carried over? Is this applicable to other staff? Some companies do not allow leave to be carried over from one financial year to another, but they need to be consistent with all employees.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry I think my question above was misunderstood. I meant that I would only need to have used 3 of my 5 bank holiday days entitlement. Am I still entitled to the other 2 days as normal leave despite not needing them for bank holidays?

    Editor: If these bank holidays are part of your normal annual leave, then yes. You are entitled to all annual leave you accrue during maternity leave.


  • Anonymous says:

    I work 3 days a week so get 15 days annual leave plus 5 days per year to use for bank holidays. I went on maternity on 16th January so used 1 bank holiday for new years day. I returned 16th October so have to take 2 more bank holiday days for 25th and 26th December. am I also entitled to the other 2 days of my bank holiday leave?

    Editor: You are entitled to your normal annual leave while on maternity leave, but it depends on when your annual leave runs from and whether your organisation allows you to carry over annual leave from one financial year to another.

  • Anonymous says:

    However, under employment law, no employee has the automatic right to carry over holiday from one "holiday year" to the next. So, on the face of it, employees who takes a full year's maternity leave, will only have limited carrying over rights when they return because they will certainly return in a different "holiday year" from the one in which they started maternity leave. The amount of carry over will depend upon how the "holiday year" falls compared with maternity leave period.

    But there's another twist regarding carrying over holiday. Every employee is meant to have actually taken 20 days in any one year (irrespective of their entitlement). The law requires this. This means that it can be argued that being on maternity leave has deprived the employee of the right to take this 20 days and therefore maternity leave law will kick in and give the person the right to those 20 after she returns.

    But this may not help with bank holidays, I am afraid, unless the employee starts and returns within one "holiday year". Once the "holiday year" is up – it's too late.

  • Anonymous says:

    I really would appreciate some advice with regards to Bank holidays while on Maternity Leave.

    My contract states the following with regards to my annual leave: “In addition to all public holidays and days off in leu, you are entitled to 25 days paid holiday”.

    With regards to Maternity Pay my contract states the following: “ The company will enhance the SMP in the first 12 weeks at full normal weekly gross pay. The following 40 weeks will be treated as follows:
    (i) 27 weeks at standard rate of SMP
    (ii) Last 13 weeks will be unpaid

    I went on Maternity leave on the 30 March 2012 and returned to work on the 1st of April 2013. During this time there were 10 Bank Holidays, but they say they cannot honour all of them as holidays, as I received payment for some of them while receiving maternity pay:

    Apr 6th Good Friday Received Full Pay
    Apr 9th Easter Monday Received Full Pay
    May 7th May Day Received Full Pay
    June 4th Spring Bank Holiday Received Full Pay
    June 5th Queens diamond Jubilee Received Full Pay
    Aug 27th Summer bank Holiday SMP only
    Dec 25th Christmas Day SMP only
    Dec 26th Boxing Day SMP only
    Jan 1st New years Day Unpaid Leave
    Mar 29th Good Friday Unpaid Leave

    So HR are now saying that I can only have 5 of the 10 Bank Holidays that I accrued, as they believe that as I got paid full wage within the first 12 weeks of my maternity when 5 of those Bank holidays took place, they do not need to honour them.

    Could someone please tell me if what they are saying is correct, as I thought I would have accrued all 10 days as I would have still been paid for them and had the day off if I was not on maternity leave.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thank you in advance.

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale: Whilst you are on maternity leave you accrue your holiday entitlement and that will include the bank holidays.  You should be able to take these when your maternity leave ends.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm due back at work on the 10th dec. However, my work are allowing me to carry all of my accrued holiday over into next year 🙂 so from the 10th Dec – 22nd of Jan 2014 I will be on holiday. Will I get paid my holiday pay? I will be handing in my notice 4 wks before I'm due back as childcare costs for 2 children are ridiculous. I will be on holiday when I hand my notice in.

    Editor: You will be entitled to any leave you have accrued up until your last official day at the company.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I am 21 weeks pregnant, baby is due on 4th December this year. I am a full time worker and work 36.5 hours a week. Our holidays are worked out in hours, so I get 204.4 hours holiday per year, but have to deduct my bank holidays out of that entitlement as we are on a salary and bank holidays are paid for within the salary.
    I have used my annual holidays up this year so far and my boss states that I am unable to take any more this year unpaid as it will affect my maternity pay. So whilst on maternity leave will I have my full 204.4 hours holiday when I return in September (deducting out the bank holidays that I am actually working which will be Christmas Day and Boxing Day) as I am not very clear when looking on acas as I do get paid for bank holidays. Regards Sarah

    Editor: You continue to accrue all holidays you would normally accrue during maternity leave. 

  • Anonymous says:


    I am due to go on maternity leave at the beginning of December. After a brief discussion with HR I was told I am not entitled to my bank holiday entitlement whilst on leave. Having reread my contract and the information online I am not sure this is right.

    I work 24hrs over 3 set days one of which is a Monday. My contract states that I have 120hrs leave per annum (jan-dec) and in the next paragraph states "You are also entitled to 38.5 hrs public holiday in each full calender year. Your public holiday entitlement will be added to your annual leave entitlement. Therefore, should a public holiday fall on a day that you would normally work, you will be required to deduct this day from your total annual holiday entitlement and submit a holiday form."

    Surely that means my public holiday entitlement is part of my annual leave and should therefore be accrued during maternity leave?

    As it stands they have already deducted xmas and boxing day off this year's leave.

    Editor: You continue to accrue annual leave in the same way when you are on maternity leave as when you are at work.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your response to my question above re public holidays and maternity policies. My HR department are refusing to let me take the 9 days public holidays as the policy excludes them, and since I have received maternity pay above the statutory minimum I have accepted the policy and waived my rights to the 9 days public holiday. Their approach is that the policy is right and I have no rights to claim these extra days! Is there any legislation / case law I can refer them to?

    Editor: All employees are entitled to at least 28 days statutory annual leave. If your employer provides 28 days annual leave, including Bank Holidays, your employer should probably allow you to take paid holiday at another time, as the European Court of Justice case of Gomez said that a woman apply to fixed holidays that are part of your statutory annual leave entitlement but the law is not clear and you may wish to seek further advice, eg, from the CAB.

  • Anonymous says:

    My contract of employment provides for 35 days holiday per year including public holidays – 26 days holiday and 9 public holidays. However, the companies maternity policy states that public holidays are not accrued during maternity leave. Can ther maternity policy overide my contractual entitlement?

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says all holidays accrue during maternity leave.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi. I started my maternity on 2nd October 2012 and I am due to return to work on 2nd July 2013, having had 9 month off. My contract entitles me to 23.5 days annual leave and 8 days bank holidays. I have missed 7 bank holiday days whilst on maternity leave. Am I entitled to take these missed days?

    Editor: If you normally get these days as paid leave you should be entitled to them.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, my company has just been taken over by a bigger company. I was wondering which policy do I go by – the old company or the new one that has taken has over?

    Editor: When one company takes over another it had to keep within the Transfer of Undertakings regulations [TUPE] and you should not lose any employment rights.

  • Anonymous says:

    My company pays full salary for 6 months. Am I meant to accrue bank holidays on top of it when I get back?

    Editor: Generally, you accrue all your holidays while on maternity leave, but you should check your company's particular policy with regard to enhanced maternity leave.

  • Anonymous says:

    This is a very interesting article and it definitely helps with my leave entitlement. But what if the employer argues that I have been paid for each bank holiday based on an enhanced maternity payment (full pay for the first 16 weeks, etc). Am I still entitled to the additional days as annual leave at the end of my maternity? Must I reimburse them for the payment?

    Editor: Our employment lawyer Vanessa Wheeler says she would need to look at your contract and that while it is an interesting technicality it might be best to avoid a dispute over what is a relatively small issue.  Also your legal costs might exceed the sum in dispute.  

  • Anonymous says:

    I went off on maternity in November 2012 and I am due back on 5th August after 39 weeks off…I don't want to return….my questions are….When should I resign? And my contract states 20 days holiday plus 8 bank holidays i.e Christmas day etc…should they pay me the bank holidays I have accrued and missed whilst on maternity leave?

    Editor: It is up to you when you resign, but you need to give your contractual notice and it may be better to let your employer know sooner rather than later so they can make preparations. You will be entitled to all your holiday accrued on maternity leave up until when you resign.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am currently on mat leave and have just handed in my notice. I have received my leaving letter saying I owed them for the 2 days bank holiday over Christmas as this was paid to me twice. They paid me this as holiday pay and now my boss is saying that this bank holiday was included in my mat pay schedule. I am sure that there was no mention of bank holidays being included in my mat pay latter I received before I left. So my questions are
    1. can they add the bank holidays to my maternity pay, and if so should it have said so in my letter?
    2. if it was not mentioned and they have overpaid me do I need to pay it back?

    Editor: If you have been overpaid you do need to pay the money back if they have noticed the error within a reasonable timeframe. Can you explain a bit more when you went on maternity leave? I am unclear why you are being paid holiday when you are on maternity leave unless you took holiday before or after your leave. Are you talking about SMP? Can you reply via the Advice & Support Q & A page box so we have your contact details in case there are follow-up questions?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have 6 weeks and 2 days holiday to take before maternity leave.. My boss has told me that I am only entitled to take 5 weeks holiday as O have to save a week's holiday to cover the bank holidays which will occur when I am on maternity leave. Is this correct?

    Editor: Our HR expert Tara Daynes says: This in not correct. Statutory holiday entitlement includes an element for bank holidays, but these don't necessarily need to be taken on the bank holiday dates. So if someone is on maternity leave, they are getting SMP for those days (or nothing if it's after the first 39 weeks), not a full day's holiday pay – unless they specifically choose to take the bank holidays on those dates, in which case they get full pay for those days.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I am currently 34 weeks pregnant. I have four working weeks left to work. I am entitled to 28 days off a year, 16 are of my own choice then there are 8 bank holidays and I have to save 5 holidays over Christmas not by choice. I have had 6 days holiday so far and I am due to take another 2 weeks before my due date in March. Should my work give me the bank holidays and the ones I have to save for Christmas on top of the holidays I already gain?

    Editor: You are entitled to your full holiday entitlement while you are on maternity leave so should get what you would normally get when you are at work, including bank holidays.

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