Building up annual leave

You begin to build up annual leave as soon as you start your job.

You begin to build up annual leave as soon as you start your job. Your employer will use either a 'leave year' or an 'accrual' system to work out how much leave you should get.

If your employer has a 'leave year', you must take your statutory leave within this period. The leave year begins on a date which may be set out in your contract. Most employers have a standard year which applies to all workers. Your employer should tell you the start and finish dates of the statutory leave year as soon as you begin work.

If a leave year is not set out in your contract, then it will start either:

  • on the first day of your new job, if this was after October 1, 1998, or
  • on October 1, if you started your job on or before October 1, 1998.

If you start your job part-way through a leave year, you are entitled to only part of the total annual leave for the current leave year. What you get depends on how much of the year remains.

Alternatively, your employer may use an 'accruals' system. 'Accrual' means you build up your leave in 12 instalments, with your entitlement increasing at the start of each month. For example, you work a 5-day week and are entitled to 28 days' annual leave. After your third month in the job, you would be entitled to 7 days' leave, as this is three-twelfths of 28.

The leave year and holiday entitlement are not affected by maternity, paternity or adoption leave. You still build up holiday over these periods.