Career Support

NHS Annual Leave Entitlements

Whether you work full or part-time in the NHS, you’re entitled to a certain amount of annual leave – also known as holiday leave – and making the most of it is crucial to your workplace wellbeing and work/life balance.

This blog details what annual leave is, whether it’s paid, how much annual leave you’re entitled to in the NHS and how to request this.

What is annual leave?

Annual leave is paid time off work that is provided by an employer, which an employee can take for whatever reason they choose.

Is annual leave paid?

You’re legally entitled to be paid your normal wages whilst on annual leave.

  • If you work set hours or your role is salary based, your income will be exactly the same as if you worked the time you took off.
  • If your hours or pay varies each week, your holiday income will reflect the pay you’d earn on average. This is usually based on the last 12 weeks you worked.

How much annual leave am I entitled to?

​Your NHS leave is calculated based upon your years of service plus the number of bank holidays in the financial year.

  • On appointment, staff receive 27 days plus 8 days of public holidays.
  • After five years of service, this increases to 29 days plus 8 days of public holidays.
  • After ten years of service, this increases to 33 days plus 8 days of public holidays.

Your annual leave entitlement is defined in your terms and conditions of employment.

How do I request annual leave?

Each NHS organisation will have a formal system and policy in place to request annual leave.

The granting of annual leave will always be at the discretion of the employer, but no employer should unreasonably refuse a request providing it came through the agreed channels, and gives reasonable notice to allow for alternative cover arrangements.

The process of booking your annual leave should be detailed in your contract, however, if you have any queries or cannot find this then you should contact your HR department.

Carrying over annual leave

Again, each NHS organisation will have a formal system and policy in place for the carrying over of annual leave.

For most employers, the annual leave that may be carried over at the end of the leave year is limited to five days or less, however, you should check your contract and employer’s policy on this.

If you’re interested in working in the UK and would like to discuss the positions available in your specialty, and how we can assist you, please contact our team.