Taking holidays and time off in the UK (and how it’s way better than the American system)

England expat life


How I use to feel about sick days.

But  now I don’t have to feel that way! It is really taking some getting used to. And I could be wrong, or confused. But from what I’ve come to understand, I can take off of work whenever I want (without having to beg/be sick/hide from work acquaintances or bosses). I may not get paid for it if I haven’t accrued enough days worked to even it out, but I can still take the day off, unpaid, if I need or want to. And sick days and holiday days are different things, too! No need to push them together, or try to bundle them to take one vacation. For example, we are about to go to Exeter for a friend’s wedding this weekend. That is a 5+ hour drive from here, and since we’re carpooling with other friends, we all decided to take Friday off and drive down during the day. Silly me, I forgot to ask for Friday off of work until last week. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to get permission to go-it was too late, right? But Jon assured me that, legally, my employer would have to give me the day, so I just needed to go in and ask for it. And my worrying was all for nought, because no one cared anyway, I just filled out a holiday request form and got on with it.

No nail biting. No worrying. No sheepishly asking if it’s okay if I go, please, can anyone cover for me? Just mutual respect. And maybe I haven’t worked enough American jobs (uh, no, that’s false, i’ve had many many many jobs for someone my age…..seriously) or something, but I’ve never had an experience like that before, so close to the actual time I needed off. It was pretty relaxing!

And now tomorrow I’m off of work and we’re out of town. And counting last month’s 3 days off for Paris, this leaves me with …..another 20 days of holiday time to take off of work this year, if I so choose.


England is magical sometimes. Magical. If this is socialism, count me in.

(p.s. I don’t know that much about working in the UK yet, this is just my experience. I know sick leave and holiday leave are different, and that sick days and vacation days in the US are also different but sometimes allowed to use in conjunction with one another. these are just my thoughts! wee, paid time off!)

4 thoughts on “Taking holidays and time off in the UK (and how it’s way better than the American system)”

  1. The law, I believe, is that full-time workers get 20 days paid holiday per year (plus bank holidays). Also sick days have to be paid up to a limit set by your employer, after that you can get Statutory Sick Pay for up to 28 weeks.

    Socialism woo!

  2. jealous! i tend to go to work sick and take sick days when i’m not sick so i can get things done, though i shouldn’t complain because i still have it better than most americans.

    1. Yeah, i wish america would get on board and stop acting like the end all/be all of life is to work all the time and then die. still not as bad as the east asian countries though!

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