Bank holidays and part time entitlement

It’s that time of year when Bank Holidays are aplenty and, weather permitting, it’s time to fire up the barbecues or join the traffic jams heading for the coast.

Behind the fun is a serious point though: have you ever heard a part time employee complain they’re penalised by their bank holiday entitlement? I certainly have. In this blog I will explain the fairest way to calculate holiday entitlement, explain why some part timers feel aggrieved, and help you to respond.

Firstly, it’s worth noting that pro rata holidays only apply for someone who doesnt work every day. It can get a little confusing, so here is a short guide to making the calculations add up to ensure fairness for everybody.

To make it easy I will assume that your full-time employees work 5 days a week Monday to Friday, and for the part timer well say they work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The fairest way to calculate

Part time workers have the right to not be treated less favourably than a comparable full-time worker. Equally though a part timer should not be treated more favourably. Reducing holidays for those working a shorter week is therefore, the most equitable solution. Heres the calculation, using our ‘3 day a week’ employee:

  • If you pay statutory holidays, their holiday entitlement would be 20 days holiday, plus 8 days bank holidays — 28 days in full
  • Divide this by how many days a full-time employeeworks normally 5 giving you 5.6 days.
  • To calculate how much someone who works 3 days would be entitled to you multiply 5.6 days by 3. This equals 16.8 days. I would always recommend rounding up so a person who works 3 days per week is entitled to 17 days leave (including bank holidays) per year.

Why do some part timers feel aggrieved?

Its all to do with flexibility – and Mondays are especially irksome for a part time employee. If you’ve ever wondered why a lot of part time employees don’t like working on a Monday I will help you to see why.

It is expected that for every bank holiday which falls on the days they are contracted to work this will be deducted from the overall entitlement.

In 2018, there are 5 bank holidays which fall on a Monday, 1 on a Tuesday, 1 on a Wednesday and 1 on a Friday.

Therefore out of the 17 day entitlement, our example employee would have to deduct 7 days automatically to cover those bank holidays which they are contracted to work. This leaves 10 days for them to do with as they wish.

Compare this to someone who works 3 days a week but on a Wednesday, Thursday and a Friday. They work the same number of days but are only contracted to work on 2 of the bank holidays. This would leave them with 15 days for them to do with as they wish.

Exactly the same entitlement just a lot less flexibility if your part timer works on a Monday.

So, how do you explain that it’s fair?

The simple answer is theres no other fair way to do it.

You have to pro rata bank holidays, irrespective of whether or not they fall on the day which the employee normally works.

I hope this helps to explain it but if you are need of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact Mint HR. Here to remove the headache from any people related problem.

Contact Mint Outsourced HR in Yorkshire

From Onboarding in Huddersfield to Employee Handbooks in Hull or Grievances in Sheffield to Mediation in Manchester, nowhere is too far for the team at Mint HR.


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