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, and this year (2022) we are getting an additional day for the Platinum Jubilee.   

The Background

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 doesn’t work every day, with a consistent number of hours. 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 we will say they work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Obviously, this isn’t an issue for certain industries, such as hospitality, where they normally will give an annual holiday allowance that includes Bank holidays, as everyone will need to take holiday if they want the Bank holiday off.

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. Here’s the calculation, using our '3 day a week' employee:

Why do some part timers feel aggrieved?

It’s 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 2022, there are 6 bank holidays which fall on a Monday, 2 on a Tuesday, none on a Wednesday.

Therefore, out of the 17 day entitlement, our example employee would have to deduct 8 days automatically to cover those bank holidays which they are contracted to work. This leaves 9 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 3 of the bank holidays. This would leave them with 14 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 there’s 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 Edelweiss HR. Here to remove the headache from any people related problem.

Edelweiss HR Ltd

Cirencester Business Park
Tetbury Road
Cirencester 
GL7 6JJ
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