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NHS Holiday Entitlement: All Your Questions Answered

We’ve put together all of your most frequently asked questions, from NHS leave entitlement information to your guide to bank holidays in the NHS.


Whether you’ve worked in the NHS for a while or are new to the institution, you may have some questions about your NHS holiday entitlement.

Everyone would agree that working for the NHS is far from easy, so it is important that you make the most of your holiday entitlement to the NHS and don’t miss out on any days off that you’re entitled to. 

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NHS holiday entitlement can be confusing since the rules differ depending on the hours you work and the length of your employment with the NHS. Some employers provide a holiday entitlement calculator to help you determine your entitlement, while others may require you to request holidays in advance. It may seem complicated, but don’t worry! We’ve created this blog to provide you with all the information you need to know.

NHS Holiday Entitlement

How many annual leave days do you get for the NHS holidays? 

The number of statutory holiday entitlement days, or annual leave entitlement days, you will get as an NHS worker will differ depending on your previous NHS service and whether you work full-time staff or are part-time staff.

As a staff member with no previous NHS service working full-time hours, you are entitled to 202.50 hours of annual leave NHS entitlement. Depending on how many hours you work a day, this is roughly 27 days of holiday (plus eight bank holidays). However, employees who have worked within the service for five years get 29 days of holidays and eight bank holidays.

When does the annual leave NHS entitlement start? 

The holiday entitlement NHS year starts on 1 April and ends on 31 March every year.

How many hours is full-time NHS? 

Full-time hours in the NHS is a standard working week of 37.5 hours. There is no set number of hours for a part-time role in the NHS.

Part-time work refers to any worker who is contracted for anything less than the full 37.5 hours for a full-time. 

How many days of annual leave NHS 10 years? 

The longer you work for the NHS, the more annual leave holidays you will be entitled to. Employees with ten years of service in the NHS get an increased entitlement of 33 days and eight bank holidays. 

Do NHS staff get public holidays? 

All NHS staff are entitled to eight public holidays on a pro-rata basis. However, depending on the requirements of your role, you may need to double-check with your line manager about whether you will have to work on a public holiday.

How much annual leave can I buy – NHS Holidays Entitlement? 

Up to 37.5 hours of NHS holiday entitlement is available to buy back. This is available pro-rata for part-time employees. You should discuss and agree on this with your manager, as they will be required to approve any application for you to buy back any annual leave. 

We also recommend that you ensure you can use all of the NHS holidays you buy in the coming year, as you will not be able to sell it back later.

Do you get paid sick days in NHS? 

Organisations such as the NHS have an occupational sick pay scheme, which means you are given full pay when you are sick. However, this may only apply to so many sick days per year, so you should ask your line manager or check your contract for terms and conditions.  

Can NHS employees take unpaid leave? 

NHS employees who have worked within the service for 26 weeks or more are entitled to two weeks of paid leave at the statutory rate. Extended unpaid special leave is also available for a maximum of 18 weeks over a period of five years. This leave can be taken in one continuous period of leave or used over more than one occasion.

Multiple periods of leave can be taken unpaid through their employment as long as the total does not exceed the five-year maximum. Each requested break must be submitted as a new application to your manager for approval. 

NHS Discount Holidays

With your NHS annual leave entitlement for 2023/24 about to begin, you may be looking to get away for some rest and relaxation. Now that you have all the information about your NHS holiday entitlement, we have all the holiday offers you need to make the most of your time off.

Check out our NHS discount holidays below!

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