What is the statutory minimum annual leave in the United Kingdom?
Employees are entitled to a minimum of 20 days of paid annual leave and 8 bank holidays in the U.K. Employees should be encouraged to use at least 20 days of their annual leave days during the applicable year (between January 1 and December 31). Please note that all supported employees should take the PTO allocated to them before the end of each calendar year, as carryovers are not allowed per our employment agreement.
What are the parental leave entitlements in the United Kingdom?
In order to take maternity leave, a pregnant employee must notify her employer of her pregnancy at least 15 weeks prior to the anticipated due date or as soon as is reasonably practicable.
Total statutory maternity leave in the U.K. is 52 weeks and has two parts:
- Ordinary maternity leave, which is 26 weeks
- Additional maternity leave, which is 26 weeks
Compulsory maternity leave must be taken as part of ordinary leave and is 2 weeks long. Beyond that, it’s up to the discretion of the employee as to how they would like to take their leave.
The statutory maternity pay is typically as follows:
- The first 6 weeks: 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings (before tax);
- The remaining 33 weeks: the statutory weekly rate (£172.48 from 6 April 2023) or 90% of the employee’s average weekly (before tax) earnings (whichever is lower).
Qualifying male employees are entitled to 2 weeks of paid ordinary paternity leave, to be taken within 56 days of the birth of child (or adoption). This benefit is equal to either the statutory weekly rate or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is less.
A parent who is eligible for maternity or adoption leave as the primary parent can end their leave (and pay) early and elect to share the remaining leave and pay with an eligible partner through what is known as shared parental leave.
Parents can take shared parental leave together or consecutively. They can take unpaid parental leave to care for a child up to the age of 18. Employees can take up to 18 weeks of unpaid leave per child. Unless the child is disabled, unpaid parental leave must be taken in periods of 1 week. It is common to limit the amount of unpaid parental leave to be taken each year to 4 weeks.
What is the sick leave entitlement in the United Kingdom?
There is no statutory requirement to allow employees to take time off when sick, but if an employer refuses to provide, this would most likely breach any implied terms of trust and confidence. Customary minimum for enhanced sick pay is usually 5-10 days.
Sick employees are entitled to statutory sick pay (£109.40 from 6 April 2023), which qualifies employees who are unable to work due to sickness to receive a minimum weekly benefit. This payment is made by the employer and is subject to income tax and national insurance contributions, as with normal pay. Statutory sick pay is available to most employees for 28 weeks at a rate of pay determined by statute once the first days of sick leave have lapsed. After 7 days (inclusive of weekends and bank holidays) of sick leave, the employer can demand a doctor’s note.
What other types of leave are there in the United Kingdom?
Employees may be allowed time off for:
- Prenatal (antenatal) appointments (no loss of pay);
- Adoption appointments (no loss of pay);
- Accompanying other employees to disciplinary or grievance hearings;
- Activities related to trade unions (no loss of pay);
- Young people under apprenticeship scheme (no loss of pay);
- To seek other employment opportunities if facing redundancy (no loss of pay);
- To carry out the duties or receive training as a pension scheme trustee;
- Acting as an employee representative;
- To receive training or carry out the duties of the safety representatives; and
- The performance of the duties of the members of European Works Council.
- Employees may also be allowed unpaid time off to care for family or dependents in the event of an emergency, public duties, or parental leave.
- It is common practice to offer between 3-5 days of unpaid bereavement leave.
- Employees who lose a child or experience a stillbirth have a right to 2 weeks of paid bereavement leave, as long as they have accumulated 26 weeks of consecutive service with their employer.