Holiday Entitlement

As employees nannies have 5.6 working weeks holiday per year, which is 28 days for full time workers. This should be expressed in your contract as 5.6 weeks holiday, rather than 4 weeks plus bank holidays. Your contract will state your holiday entitlement, how much notice you must give and any restrictions on when you can take your holiday (which may reflect school term times or particularly busy periods of work for your employer).

Your holiday year, or leave year, usually runs from the start date of your contract but it may follow the calendar year. In the first and/or final year of employment your holiday may be calculated on a pro-rata basis.

What does a working week mean?

If you only work two days per week then your working week is 2 days long. This means you have 5.6 2 day weeks of holiday, or 11.2 days. Below you can find a quick reference of how many days holiday you are entitled to according to the length of your working week.

1 day = 5.6 days holiday

2 days = 11.2 days holiday

3 days = 16.8 days holiday

4 days = 22.4 days holiday

5 days = 28 days holiday

Holiday allowances can be rounded up e.g. 16.8 days can become 17, but not down (so 11.2 days cannot become 11).


Bank and public holidays

There are 8 bank and public holidays per year: New Year's Day (January 1 or the following Monday if a weekend), Good Friday (the Friday before Easter), Easter Monday (the Monday after Easter), Mayday (also called Early May Bank Holiday, first Monday in May), Whit Monday (also called the Spring Bank Holiday), the Summer Bank holiday (last Monday in August), Christmas Day (December 25 or the following Monday if a weekend) and Boxing Day (December 26 or the following Monday if December 26 is a Saturday, or the following Tuesday if December 26 is a Sunday or Monday ). There may also be other extraordinary public holidays such as the wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011 and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

There is no legal entitlement to have Bank or public holidays off. Your employer may be required to work and need you to work as well, or they may choose to have you work that day. If you do not have a Bank holiday off then it cannot be deducted from your holiday allowance. If you work a bank holiday and your contract states you are entitled to 4 weeks plus bank and public holidays then you are entitled to a day off in lieu of the holiday you worked, as your employer cannot give you fewer than 28 days holiday per year.


Who chooses holiday?

Your employer has the right to choose all of your holiday. They also have the right to deny all holiday requests. This is why it is important to agree holiday with your employer before booking anything.

Most nanny contracts state than the nanny will choose half the holiday, or 2 weeks holiday, and the employer will choose half the holiday, or 2 weeks holiday, with the remainder being mutually agreed. Some contracts will specify the a certain number of days are to be taken over the Christmas period.


Term time only working

If you only work during term time and you can take holiday during term time then your contract will probably state that you work 39 weeks per year and during those 39 weeks you are entitled to take 4.2 weeks of holiday.

This is calculated by working out the proportion of the year that you work: 39/52 = 0.75

Then calculating the amount of holiday you get as a proportion of the annual allowance: 0.75 x 5.6 = 4.2 weeks or 21 days

This means you are not employed during the school holidays so you cannot take your holiday during that time.

If you have a term-time only contract which prohibits you from taking holiday during term time then you are employed during part of the holiday time, and your holiday entitlement is calculated based on the full length of time that you are employed. This means you continue to accumulate holiday entitlement during part of the school holidays.

Working 39 weeks you accrue 4.2 weeks, or 21 days, holiday

Over those 4.2 weeks you accrue: 4.2/52 = 0.081 weeks holiday)

0.081 weeks multiplied by the annual allowance of 5.6 gives 0.45 weeks or 2.25 additional days, giving you a total of 23.25 days holiday.

Variable hours

For nannies who work days of varying lengths for the same employer e.g. 10 hours Monday and Tuesday, so 2 days of 10 hours, and 6 hours on Thursday and Friday, 2 days of 6 hours OR who work different hours during school terms and school holidays it is easier to work out and take holiday entitlement in terms of hours.

If you work the same number of hours each week e.g. 32 in the above example then you can calculate the number of hours per week x the weekly holiday entitlement: 32 x 5.6 = 179.2 hours. This means that for if you take a Friday off you deduct 6 hours, leaving you with 173.2 hours, and if you then take a Monday off you deduct 10 hours, leaving you with 163.2 hours and so on.

If you work 1 day a week 3 hours a day during term times and 10 hours a day during the holidays you can perform the following calculation to get your annualised hours:

3 hours x 39 weeks = 117

10 hours x 13 weeks = 130

Term time + holiday time = 117 + 130 = 247 hours total.

You can then work out the average hours worked per week: 247/52 = 4.75

Then use your average weekly hours to work out your annual holiday entitlement 4.75 x 5.6 = 26.6 hours

Working 5 days a week, and using the same hours per day you would do:

5 days x 3 hours x 39 weeks = 585

5 days x 10 hours x 13 weeks = 650

Term time + holiday time = 585 + 650 = 1235

Average hours per week: 1235/52 = 23.75

Average weekly hours x annual entitlement = 23.75 x 5.6 = 133 hours

133 hours equates to 13.3 days during the school holiday time but 44.3 days during term time - a very significant difference!

Holidays and nanny shares

In a nanny share you are still entitled to 5.6 weeks holiday. This means 5.6 weeks or 28 days when you are not working. Time when you only have children from one family does not count as holiday for you. It is normal EITHER for everyone to agree one week, for example around Christmas and then each party (nanny, family 1 and family 2) to choose a week, OR for each family to choose one week and nanny choose two weeks. If one family requires you to work a bank holiday but the other does not then this bank holiday cannot be deducted from your holiday allowance.

Going over holiday allowance

Legally holiday over your stated entitlement of paid holiday does not have to be paid. This is most often enforced when nannies wish to take more holiday than their contract allows and their employer agrees in principle to allow them to have the time off but does not want, or cannot afford, to pay them.

It is usual for nanny contracts to say that if an employer chooses to go over their holiday allowance then the nanny will be paid in full even if not required to work. Some families will anticipate additional holiday and require you to do child-related tasks such as batch cooking, sorting through toys or naming school uniform.

Certain contracts have a 'lay off clause' where if the family do not require a nanny for a certain period of time the nanny can be laid off without pay, or with a small retainer,  but continue to be employed and therefore continue to accrue maternity/paternity/adoption and redundancy entitlements. These clauses should not be used in the case of an employer going on an additional holiday during the year

Holiday booked before starting a job

If you booked holiday before starting a job and informed your employer at interview that you had pre-booked holiday then they must honour your plans. If you did not inform your employer then they are not obliged to allow you to take the holiday. This period of holiday does not have to be paid if you have not accrued sufficient days, or if it goes over your annual entitlement.

Holiday and compassionate leave

There is no legal right to compassionate leave. Some employers will voluntarily allow you to take compassionate leave on full pay or unpaid but they can request that you take it as holiday.