Contracts

Annual leave

Entitlements

The amount of annual leave will be defined in your terms and conditions of employment and, for hospital doctors, this is also defined in the national terms and conditions of service for the grade.

Hospital doctors - the table below summarises annual leave arrangements:

Grade Annual leave entitlement Notes
Consultant 6 weeks + 2 extra days after 7 years in the grade
Associate specialist 6 weeks + 2 extra days after 7 years in the grade (by local agreement)
Staff grade 5 weeks for first two years.6 weeks in subsequent years Exceptionally, a newly-appointed staff grade may be entitled to 6 weeks leave immediately if previous post carried 6 weeks entitlement
Specialty doctor 5 weeks for first two years, except where the immediate previous post had 6 week entitlement, in which case 6 weeks applies.6 weeks in subsequent years
tRs, StR(FT)s and SpRs on the third or higher incremental points of the payscale 6 weeks
Foundation year 1, Foundation year 2  and StRs, StR(FT)s and SpRs on the minimum, 1st or 2nd incremental points of the payscale 5 weeks Systems should be in place to monitor leave on an annual basis, rather than by each rotation only. Check with local employers how this is managed.

Non-GP clinical academic, Senior and Clinical medical officers, Hospital practitioners

5 weeks

Junior doctors
See specific leave information and faqs

Consultants
Information on calculating your leave

Medical academics
Consult your handbook for details of annual leave

SAS - Additional Leave after 7 years
After 7 years service as a consultant in England or Northern Ireland, doctors are eligible for 2 additional days leave. In the SAS grades there is no such additional entitlement in the national TCS for Specialty Doctors, Staff Grades or Associate Specialists. However, it is BMA policy that this entitlement should apply to all in the SAS grades too. SASC has written to all Local Negotiating Committees asking them to negotiate this as local policy and the BMA are aware that many have agreed to recognise the seniority of those in the SAS grades in this way. Please contact your HR department or LNC to ascertain whether this has been agreed in your trust.

GP partners
The level of annual leave will be defined in your partnership agreement and this is normally a minimum of 6 weeks. Salaried GPs will have your annual leave defined within your contracts with the practice or employing authority and this, again, is normally 6 weeks.

For other GP-employed staff
All other GP-employed staff are entitled to 5.6 weeks (28 days if a five-day week is worked) paid leave. This entitlement includes bank and public holidays, and is reduced on a pro rata amount for those working part time. This is a requirement of the Working Time Regulations and pay in lieu of time off is not an option, except on termination of employment.

Less than Full Time Trainees
Annual leave for less than full time trainees should be calculated on a pro-rated basis. So, for example, a less than full time trainee working 60% of a full time rota should receive 60% of the entitlement to annual leave, and 60% of the entitlement to public holidays.

Part-time workers
Part-time workers should receive the same entitlement, on a pro-rata basis, to annual leave as their full-time colleagues. It is important to check how annual leave entitlement is expressed in contracts of employment - i.e. in terms of weeks, days or hours - and that pro-rating is correctly applied for part-time staff. It should be noted that a failure to correctly pro-rate holidays for part-time staff will place the employer in breach of the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002.

 

Requests and authorisation

Most employers have a formal system in place to request annual leave - granting annual leave will always be at the discretion of the employer.

No employer should, however, unreasonably refuse a request for annual leave providing it has came through the agreed channels and provides reasonable notice to allow for alternative cover arrangements to be put in place.

  • For most hospital employed staff, 'reasonable' notice is often based on lead time for out-patient clinic or theatre appointments, usually around 6 weeks.
  • It should, however, be noted that the amount of notice which is practical to give may be less as, for example, juniors may not have access to rotas as far in advance as other staff.
  • Consultant staff in England are required under the new contract to give a minimum of two months notice of leave requests.

 

Carry over of annual leave entitlement

In most employers, the amount of annual leave that may be carried over at the end of the leave year will be limited to 5 days or less. You should check your own contract or employers local policy on this. There is, however, a requirement under the Working Time Regulations for a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave to be taken in each leave year and so all employees will be expected to take this amount of leave as a minimum.

It should also be noted that a European Court of Justice ruling established that where staff are absent from work on long term sick leave and are thus unable to take the statutory minimum level of leave (ie. 5.6 weeks per annum), they must then be entitled to carry over the difference between annual leave taken in the year and the statutory minimum level of leave into the next holiday. Should they subsequently leave their employment, the amount of annual leave outstanding and paid in lieu on termination will include this amount of carried over entitlement.

 

Key documents to consult

The following key documents are likely to contain much of the information needed for leave queries:

  • Your contract of employment
  • Relevant national terms and conditions of service
  • Relevant local agreements

The following legislation may also be relevant to leave queries:

  • Working Time Regulations 1998
  • Employment Act 2002
  • Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002
  • Employment Relations Act 1999