I recently started an internship which I am enjoying. However I received my contract a few days into starting the work (although the pay was agreed beforehand).

Now my internship duration as specified in the contract is for 2 months (with the possiblity of it being extended to an additional month).

Unfortunately, the contract also specifies that there is no paid annual leave for the first 3 months of work.

Putting two and two together, it means that I'm not entitled to annual leave. When I spoke to my line manager, he referred me to someone in HR and they said that fixed term employees don't get annual leave unless they work more than 3 months.

However on this link and on the government website (after following the link to worker) it mentions that I am entitled to annual leave and it doesn't specify anything about having to work for 3 months before I am entitled to annual leave.

I am enjoying the internship so far however I don't think they are right about this. What should I do?

  • Your link also says "This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action." - the fact that you're only there for three months may be enough to not provide annual leave.
    – HorusKol
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


It is not normal to deny interns annual leave (in the UK). It is probably legal but is unusually mean and suggests that the company involved will have a poor attitude when you attempt to claim other normal benefits such as sick leave.

I am enjoying the internship so far however I don't think they are right about this. What should I do?

Do nothing. Complete the internship and don't cause a fuss.

Right now the most important thing is that you get work experience and a good reference. If the internship is otherwise good then you should complete it to the best of your ability and try to enjoy it as much as possible. Losing the holiday is annoying but really small potatoes compared to what you will gain by keeping quiet and causing no trouble.

In the future be wary about applying to this particular company. It may be that they offer you a job and it may be a good enough offer that you take it.... but just be mindful of the fact that they will be inclined to penny pinch.

I would strongly advise against trying to take action because:

a) trying to extort the holiday from the company will piss them off, spoiling your reference

b) you don't have much to gain (5 days holiday max?)

c) trying to force the company to give you leave will be extremely arduous and may not be possible, even if you are legally entitled to the leave (which you may not be)

  • 1
    From the links above, it seems that's its not just unreasonable - it is illegal.
    – piccolo
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 10:35
  • Would you suggest I ask to change my contract from intern to freelance worker - that way it would look better on my CV and they can get away with not paying me for bank holidays/annual leave
    – piccolo
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 10:36
  • 1
    I suggest that you ask politely about annual leave (ask your manager). Don't mention the contract. They will either say 1) "yes, take some paid leave" 2) "take some leave but it is unpaid" 3) "no leave is available, per the contract"..... whatever their answer accept it gracefully and don't cause a fuss. Commented May 25, 2019 at 10:40
  • The legal situation is more complex than the website makes out. Even if they are operating illegally you will find it very difficult (impossible) to persuade them to change their policy. Commented May 25, 2019 at 10:42
  • 1
    It may be that you are not allowed to take annual leave during the two months' internship. However, you should be accumulating a statutory holiday pay entitlement (which cannot be reduced by contract) and will be paid for that leave at the end of the contract.
    – Owain
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 16:05

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