Holiday Buy and Sell

We know that everyone is different when it comes to holidays, which is why once a year colleagues can buy or sell holiday for the next holiday year.

Some people prefer more time-off work than their standard entitlement allows, while others might not know what to do with it all. That’s why we give you the flexibility to buy or sell up to five days of annual leave (pro rata if part time).  This benefit is only available to colleagues on the Anchor payroll system with a fixed income.

You’re not committed forever. When you request to buy or sell holiday it only applies for that holiday year.  Want to know more?  Read the FAQs below.


Not enough holiday days? School holidays draining your holiday allowance?  Want to go on a holiday of a lifetime?  Planning to spend time with loved ones? No problem!

If you’d like to buy extra leave, you need to be earning above the national minimum wage after deductions. The cost of buying holiday is deducted through payroll from your gross salary (before tax & NI) over 12 months, starting in May.  This is known as a Salary Sacrifice arrangement. 

Please note you are buying additional holiday for next years holiday entitlement (not the current year).

Too much time on your hands? No worries! 

You can sell holiday you don’t need, as long as you have 28 days left (20 days plus bank holidays) after selling. Payments for selling holiday are made in 12 equal instalments to your pay, starting in May (NB a lump sum option is not available). 

Please note you are selling from your new holiday year entitlement (not the current holiday year).

If you are a Bank colleague, unfortunately, we can’t accept your request.  If you have requested more additional holiday than you are entitled to, your request will be rejected (i.e. if you request to buy 5 days holiday but only work 3 days a week).

You have to be earning above the National Minimum Wage once all salary sacrifice deductions have been made. You can’t legally reduce your pay below the National Minimum Wage so we will have to decline you request in this situation.

The number of days holiday you have left after selling holiday must be above your statutory entitlement.  For a fulltime colleague the statutory entitlement is 20 days plus bank holidays, which means a full-time colleague’s holiday entitlement can’t drop below that

If your request is declined for any reason, we will let you know as soon as possible. 

You can buy or sell holiday between  1 February and 31 March each year so it takes effect from the start of the new annual leave year in May.  You should speak to your manager to agree your holiday buy or sell before submitting a request.

If you have more than one role that you wish to buy or sell holiday for you will need to submit a request for each role. 

When you buy extra leave, you agree to a reduction in your gross pay, but you’ll also pay less tax and NI.  By requesting to buy holiday you are agreeing to enter into a salary sacrifice agreement.

If you decide to sell some of your allowance, you’ll be paid more and so your tax and NI contributions will increase (NB it is not pensionable).

Eligibility criteria is set within myHR ESS, which means if you try to buy or sell more holiday then you are allowed it will not let you submit the form. 

Additionally, you can only buy holidays in full days and you can’t sell holiday if your annual entitlement is 20 days + bank holidays.

Remember the holiday buy and sell window is only open 1 February to 31 March each year and you are buying or selling for the upcoming new holiday year (check you have picked the correct year)

Log into myHR ESS and click on ‘my time’ on the left hand side.  Then click on ‘view balances’.   You can click on the relevant holiday period for an even more detailed breakdown and see your holiday buy and sell added to you entitlement.

Please note it may take a few hours to update once you have submitted your request. 

Former Halcyon colleagues can submit a request to buy or sell holidays, asl long as they meet the eligibility criteria using this form 

How Do I Apply?

The 2024 holiday buy is open from 1 February to 31 March.  You can buy or sell holidays in myHR ESS in a very similar way to booking holiday (please see the section lower down for former Halcyon colleagues).  By submitting a holiday buy request you are entering into a salary sacrifice arrangement.    

  1. Simply log into myHR ESS and click on ‘my time’ on the left hand side 
  2. Then select the ‘buy and sell holiday’ button  
  3. Complete the form and press save to submit.
  • Remember you need to pick the new holiday year starting in May.  You can’t buy or sell for the current holiday year.
  • Eligibility criteria is set within myHR ESS, which means it will tell you the minimum and maximum you can buy or sell.  It will also ask you for your request in hours or days, depending on how your holidays have been set up (as a rule full-time colleagues are in days and part-time colleagues are in hours).   
  • The annual cost of buying or selling is calculated for you in the ‘Total Value’ field at the end of the form.  See the detailed FAQs document for more detail on how this is calculated.
  • If you have more than one role that you wish to buy or sell holidays for you will need to submit a request for each role (i.e. repeat the above process for each role).  

The Reward team will do further checks behind the scenes to ensure your request is complaint and will be in touch if there are any issues (i.e. you drop below National Minimum Wage by buying holidays or your holiday allowance drops below 20 days + bank holidays when selling holidays).

If you encounter any issues submitting your holiday buy or sell request, drop an email and we will be happy to help. 

Please note former Halcyon colleagues are not yet on myHR ESS and so will need to submit this form.  The Reward team will review your request and if it meets the eligibility criteria, they will add it to your myHR ESS account when you move to the Anchor system. 


If your request is approved, the leave you buy or sell will apply from May and deductions or payments will start in May and end in April.

If you want to know more about how the scheme works, check out the more detailed FAQs