All NHS staff contracted on Agenda for Change (which includes most roles except doctors, dentists and some senior managers) have the same annual leave entitlements. Much like pay progression or sick pay, the amount of annual leave is linked to years of experience, with holiday days increasing gradually over 10 years.
All Agenda for Change staff (except those in Wales) start their careers with 27 days of annual leave, plus bank holidays (usually 8 days). After 5 years of service, this rises to 29 days of annual leave plus bank holidays, and finally after 10 years of service you are eligible for 33 days of annual leave plus holidays. NHS staff in Wales begin their careers with 28 days of annual leave plus bank holidays, then progress as with staff in other regions.
It is important to note that this service does not need to be continuous or at the same organisation. For example if you worked at an NHS hospital for 3 years, then worked in the private sector for a year, and then returned to the NHS for 2 years, you would be entitled to an increase in your annual leave. Increases may not be applied automatically – so make sure your local HR team is aware of the leave you are entitled to, particularly if you’ve moved organisations.
What happens if I work part time or compressed hours?
If you work part time, compressed hours or any other working pattern involving more or less than the standard 37.5 hour working week, your annual leave will be applied “pro rata” to ensure that you get proportionally the same amount of leave as other staff.
For example, if you work 4 days a week (0.8 of a full-time role) and have less than 5 years of experience, you would be eligible to 80% of the annual leave allocation (21.5 days).
Annual leave for those with non-standard working patterns tends to be worked out in hours rather than days. There is a helpful calculator here to allow you to work out your allowances.
Your entitlement to increased annual leave based on years of service is not affected by whether you work part time or full time.