Using the ACAS Holiday Pay Calculator: Your Complete Guide

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Everyone loves a good holiday, but figuring out how much you’re meant to get paid while you’re on holiday might not be the easiest set of calculations. In the United Kingdom, employers are legally required to pay workers on holiday the same wages they’d receive if they were working.

The standard is clear, but calculations become complicated when you consider the different work schedules across different companies and professions. Budgeting for a big holiday is easier if you know how much you’ll earn during your leave. The ACAS Holiday Pay Calculator simplifies the process of determining how much you’ll make on your next holiday. Here’s what you need to know to get started using it. 

What Is the ACAS Holiday Pay Calculator?

The Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service (ACAS) is a government-funded organization that provides resources for employees and the businesses that employ them. It offers free advice to people who need assistance setting company policies or settling labor disputes. When an employer and employee are unable to reach a resolution to a dispute, the public organization can also facilitate different types of conciliation and arbitration

The ACAS Holiday Pay Calculator is a free, interactive, web-based tool provided on Gov.uk that’s written in plain English to help employees and businesses across the UK calculate how much pay any employee on holiday should receive. You can answer questions about your employment type and contract to determine how much you should earn during your statutory annual leave. The results from the calculator explain your annual holiday entitlement, and you can use that number to calculate the amount of money you’ll earn on your next holiday. 

How to Use the ACAS Holiday Pay Calculator

The first question on the calculator asks what pay schedule your holiday entitlement is based on. If you’re not sure how to answer, access your employment contract to find this information.

Next, you choose the employment scenario for which you need to calculate holiday pay. Unless your employment contract says otherwise, you generally earn your full statutory leave of 5.6 weeks (that’s four weeks + bank holidays) based on working for your employer for at least a full year. If you haven’t worked for a full year with your employer just yet, your calculations may be a little different. 

Finally, you enter a number of work hours. These depend on the schedule that your holiday entitlement is based on, which you indicated in the first question. For example, if you say your entitlement is based on hours worked per week, the final questions ask how many hours you work each week. Based on your entitlement answer, you may also need to provide the number of days per week or the number of shifts per week you work.

The answer stage of the calculator tells you how much holiday pay you’re entitled to each year. The number of units in the result, such as hours, weeks or days, is based on your answers. The results page also gives a few notes about the rules your employer must follow in paying you for your holiday. 

Variables to Use in the ACAS Holiday Pay Calculator

The results you get from the ACAS calculator are only as accurate as the information you enter into it. If you have any questions about what your holiday entitlement is based on, check your employment contract or speak to someone at your job — for the most accurate results, you don’t want to guess. If you have to enter the number of hours you work in a week or the number of days per week you work, gather information from your previous paycheck to get the most accurate number possible. 

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The key variables in the ACAS Holiday Pay Calculator are your holiday entitlement schedule in your employment contract and the number of hours, days or shifts (based on your entitlement schedule) you work in a standard workweek. Once you get a result, use your pay rate and the length of your upcoming holiday to calculate how much you’ll earn. 

Your holiday period begins at the end of the last full week you worked and ends at the beginning of the first full week you return to work. To identify these dates, you’ll need to understand your standard workweek. The standard workweek runs from Sunday to Saturday, but your employment contract may include a workweek that starts on a different day. 

The pay you receive during holiday is much easier to calculate if you work a fixed number of hours each week or pay period. Then, your holiday pay will look just like a regular paycheck. If you have a zero-hour contract or don’t work a fixed schedule, your holiday pay is based on your average weekly work hours in the past 52 weeks. 

Remember that holiday pay is earned from working. If you’ve been in a job for less than a year, you’re not necessarily entitled to the standard full 5.6 weeks of holiday pay. Rather, you earn 1/12 of that leave for each full month you work. If your employer allows you to take holiday before you’ve worked for a full year, it’ll be up to the employer to calculate how much you’d earn for the time period that you go on holiday. 

When using the ACAS Holiday Pay Calculator, it’s also very important to consider your employment contract. All jobs must follow the minimum standard for holiday entitlement, but your employer may offer more weeks of holiday or more pay than the standard. It’s important to get a clear understanding of your holiday pay before you take off work. This can eliminate surprises and help you understand how to arrange your budget during your leave. The ACAS calculator and your individual employment contract are important tools to guide you.

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