Holiday entitlement for part-time workers

I am regularly asked to advise on the calculation of holiday entitlement, particularly for part-time workers. It can be especially difficult for employers to calculate the entitlements of part-time workers to a pro-rata amount of bank and public holidays. This brief article addresses some of the most commonly occurring scenarios.

All employees are entitled to a statutory minimum of 5.6 weeks’ annual leave. This equates to 28 days for a full-time employee working 5 days per week. There is no automatic right to a day’s paid holiday for any particular bank or public holiday unless the contract of employment provides for this. An employer is at liberty to fix the days on which employees take annual leave and can require employees to work on bank / public holidays. As long as an employee is permitted to take at least 5.6 weeks’ annual leave over the course of the year, the employer will have complied with the statutory requirements.

If the employer’s business closes on a particular bank / public holiday, then the issue of a part-time employee’s right to a day’s annual leave for this day depends on what days they work. If the employer’s business is closed on a day the part time employee normally works, then the employee will be paid for this as a day’s annual leave and one day will be deducted from the employee’s total annual leave amount.

If the employer’s business closes on a day that the employee does not normally work, then the employee is not affected. There is no entitlement to pay for the bank holiday but equally the employee does not have a day’s annual leave deducted from their holiday entitlement.

An example scenario might be helpful. Suppose two employees job share and each work 2.5 days’ per week. One employee works Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning and the other works Wednesday afternoon and all day on Thursday and Friday. The employer’s annual leave year runs from 1st May to 30th April each year. Assuming the statutory minimum 5.6 weeks’ annual leave, each employee has an annual leave entitlement of 14 days. If the employer’s office closes for the May Day Bank Holiday, the employee who works the first half of the week will have the Monday off as a day’s paid holiday and work the Tuesday and Wednesday morning of that week as normal. This employee will be paid as normal for this week and their remaining annual leave entitlement will be 13 days. The employee who works the second half of the week is unaffected. (S)he will work and be paid for 2.5 days as normal and will still have 14 days’ annual leave to take in the year.

If an employee is contracted to work a certain number of hours or days per week but the days worked vary from week to week, then there is flexibility. For instance, if an employee works two days per week and the days are not set, then in any week where there is a bank holiday (on which the employer’s business is closed), there is freedom to either (1) have the employee work one day that week and give the bank holiday as a day’s paid holiday to be deducted from the annual leave entitlement or (2) have the employee work two other days that week, with the result that there is no reduction in the amount of annual leave left for the employee to take in the remainder of the year.

This issue can be complex but with some clear drafting of contractual clauses around annual leave entitlement, much of the confusion can be avoided.

This article is intended as a guide and for general information only and is not a substitute for taking specific advice relating to your situation. For specific advice regarding this or any other issue relating to employing people, please do not hesitate to get in touch.



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