Do Locum Vets and Nurses Get Holiday Pay?

Written by Harry Marshall Reading time: 3 mins

So, the first question to ask is, ‘What is Holiday Pay?’.

Holiday Pay: Almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday a year (known as statutory leave entitlement or annual leave). The 5.6 weeks' statutory holiday is usually made up of:

20 days = 4 weeks

+ 8 days (which can be the year's bank holidays) = 1.6 weeks

Now we are all on the same page as to what holiday pay is, let’s talk about what locums get.

Do Locum Vets and Nurses get Holiday Pay?

The main deciding factor on what you are entitled to is how you are paid for your shifts.

If you are using a Limited Company, then you are not entitled to any holiday pay. You can pay yourself what you wish (as a locum vet/nurse you are presumably the only director of the company) as long as it is within the constraints of the company. If you go on holiday, you will not be paid by your employer for this time off, so before you book any holidays you need to assess whether it is financially viable first.  

If you are using an umbrella or payroll company, you are deemed to be an employee and therefore entitled to all employee rights. Your employer (umbrella company), has to comply with all legal requirements for holiday pay. To put it simply, if you are a locum vet or nurse working via an umbrella company, you are entitled to the same statutory rights and protections in law as any other employee.

Who pays my holiday pay as a locum vet or nurse?

The first thing to understand about umbrella companies is that your ‘daily rate’ as a locum vet or nurse is unlikely to be what the umbrella company charges the veterinary practice. When working via an umbrella company, there are other costs involved such as Employer’s National Insurance, Apprenticeship Levy, the umbrella company margin, and sometimes, a pension contribution. Another one of these is holiday pay. These costs are often passed onto the practice.

As an umbrella company employee, you will be paid holiday pay in one of two ways.

Method 1: Holiday pay paid in advance

Umbrella employers using this method will pay holiday pay to you in advance of you taking leave. It will be shown on your payslip and allows you to manage the money yourself. We would advise keeping that money aside to cover the lack of income when you do go on holiday.

Method 2: Accrued holiday pay

With this method, holiday pay is accrued as stated in your contract and is released to you when you take a holiday. This is much more in line with how permanent employees are paid holiday pay.

Both methods have their merit and it is down to the umbrella you use as to which way you will be paid holiday pay. You should always ask your umbrella company about holiday pay and read your contract thoroughly before signing anything. Some helpful questions to ask an umbrella company about holiday pay are:

  • Do you use a ‘paid in advance’ or an ‘accrued’ method to pay holiday pay?

  • What happens if I don’t use all my holidays?

  • Do you have any restrictions as to when I can take holidays?

  • Can I use all of my holidays in one block booking?


You may find these articles useful too:

Do Locum Vets and Nurses Get Sick Pay?

Do Locum Vets and Nurses Get a Pension?

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