Can I take holiday during notice period?

Holiday entitlement is a key aspect of employment law in the UK, and understanding the rules around taking holiday during a notice period is important for both employees and employers. The purpose of this post is to provide an overview of the UK rules for employees taking holiday during their notice period.

Holiday Entitlement

First, it’s important to understand that under UK law, all employees are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks (28 days for a full-time worker) paid annual leave each year. This entitlement is protected by law and cannot be taken away or reduced.

When an employee gives notice to leave their job, they may still have unused holiday entitlement. In these cases, the employer has the right to require the employee to take some or all of their holiday during the notice period. However, the employee also has the right to choose to take their holiday before or after the notice period, or to take it during the notice period but at a different time than the employer requires.

Follow Your Regular Absence Policy

It is worth noting that the right to choose when to take holiday during a notice period only applies if the employer gives the employee the required notice of when they want the employee to take the holiday. This notice is typical at least twice the length of the period of holiday the employer wants the employee to take. Check what your absence policy says, and continue to apply this even during a notice period.

Requiring an Employee to Take Holiday

If the employer requires the employee to take holiday during their notice period, they must also ensure that the employee receives their normal pay for the holiday. If the employee chooses to take holiday during the notice period, they are entitled to receive their normal pay for the holiday, but they may have to make up the time if their contract requires them to work a set number of hours per week.

It’s important to note that if the employee has not taken all of their holiday entitlement before the end of the notice period, the employer can carry over the unused holiday entitlement to the next holiday year. However, if the employee has not taken all of their holiday entitlement and their employment is terminated, the employee may be entitled to a payment in lieu of the unused holiday.

Can I refuse a request for holiday?

Employers also have the right to refuse an employee’s request to take holiday during their notice period if they have a ‘legitimate business reason’ for doing so. However, what constitutes a legitimate business reason is not defined in law, and it is up to the employer to justify their decision if challenged. If you would have approved the request outside of the notice period, then you can’t really refuse it inside the notice period.


In conclusion, the UK rules around employees taking holiday during their notice period are designed to protect both employees and employers. It is important for employees to understand their rights and for employers to follow the correct procedures when requiring employees to take holiday during their notice period. By doing so, both parties can ensure that the process is smooth and fair for all concerned.