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How to work out bank holiday leave entitlement in your practice

It’s that time of year again! The HR Helpline always gets busy in January with Practice Managers asking for help working out their part-time employees’ annual leave and bank holiday entitlement, so we thought we’d try to help.

Almost all workers, even those that are part-time, are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks paid annual leave; this is known as statutory annual leave entitlement. An employer can include bank holidays as part of statutory leave, or they can be additional.

Q. What is the annual leave entitlement for part-time staff, for example, an employee who works 20 hrs/wk? Do we have to calculate pro rota?

A. Yes, part-timers are entitled to annual leave pro rata. So if they work 20 hours per week, and the full time week is 37.5 hours, for example, and the annual entitlement for a full-time employee is 25 days (excluding bank holidays), she would get 25 days x 20/37.5 which comes to 13.333 days - this would then be rounded up to 13.5 days as you cannot round down. But if they work different numbers of hours on working days, it may be better to quote holiday entitlement in hours rather than days. So if they take a day off on a day when they would normally work 5 hours, then 5 hours is taken off their outstanding leave entitlement for the year.

Q. We are going to employ someone who will work 8.30am - 5.00 pm each day, but on Tuesday he will work only 8.30am - midday (total weekly hours = 37½). The holiday entitlement for full time staff is 25 days + 8 bank holidays. How should we calculate holiday, and what would happen if they take a Tuesday off, would that be a whole day or half a day?

A. Work out total annual leave entitlement (including public holidays) in hours, in this case it would be 33 days x 7½ hours = 247.5 hours. If this employee takes holiday on a Monday, then 7½ hours would be subtracted from their remaining holiday allowance, if they take a Tuesday, 3½ hours would be subtracted. Likewise for bank and public holidays - when one falls on a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday 7½ hrs would be subtracted from their remaining holiday allowance (assuming they are not required to work on bank holidays); if the bank/public holiday falls on a Tuesday, 3½ hours would be subtracted.

Q. How should we calculate bank holiday entitlement for our part-timers?

A. There's nothing specific in legislation about how bank and public holiday entitlements for part-timers should be calculated, so it's left up to employers to decide what to offer, which does lead to a lot of confusion as many people do it so differently. However, legislation does state that part-timers must be treated no less favourably than their full-time equivalents, so a fair scheme is necessary.

Looking at it from a good practice viewpoint, all part-timers should be treated equally. Do you have any precedents, or is anything already written in employees' contracts? Just how bank holidays are stated in a contract can make a difference. For example, do your contracts say annual leave is inclusive of bank holidays or are they additional? If nothing is clearly stated in contracts, you can decide what to offer. Below are two approaches which you might consider:


1. For full-timers there are usually 8 bank/public holidays in England, 9 in Scotland, 10 in Northern Ireland (although of course we all have an extra bank holiday for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year!) for which they are paid but don't come to work (presumably), so part-timers should get a pro rata allowance. So someone who works half-time would get 4 bank/public holidays. But if this person usually works on Mondays and Fridays, more than 4 bank/public holidays would fall on the days that the person would normally work (Good Friday, Easter Monday, 2 x May and 1 x August holidays, plus possibly Christmas/New year in some years), so he/she would not be paid for the 5th/6th/7th bank/public holidays. Someone who does not use up his/her bank/public holiday 'allowance' (because not enough bank/public holidays fall on the days he/she normally works) could take the unused allowance as ordinary holiday.

2. Give employees an annual holiday allowance measured in days and which includes bank and public holidays. So, for example, for a full-time employee who currently gets 4 weeks holiday (20 days) plus bank/public holidays, this would change to 28 days (29 in Scotland, 30 in Northern Ireland). Employees would be required to take a day's holiday from their allowance on bank and public holidays. Then for someone who works half-time, the allowance would be 14 days (10 days normal holiday + 4 bank/public holidays), and again he/she must take a day's holiday from the allowance if a bank/public holiday falls on one of his/her normal working days. The downside to this is the Monday-only worker, who gets 28/5 days (rounded up to 6), but has to take 4 or more (depending on Christmas & NY) of these days as bank/public holidays, so hardly gets any 'normal' holiday.

Q. How do I deal with the extra bank holiday this year? Do employees get an extra day’s holiday?

A. Employees do not have an automatic right to time off and holiday pay on bank holidays.
Whether the employee is entitled to this extra bank holiday will depend on the wording within their contract. If the contract specifically states the number of bank holidays, for example 25 days annual leave plus 8 bank holidays, then the employee is not entitled to this year’s extra bank holiday, however if their contract simply states annual leave plus bank holidays, then they are.
It is advisable therefore, for all managers to check their employees’ contracts, but practices should consider giving their employees the bank holiday as a gesture of good will.

Before introducing any new scheme, consult with staff, and reach agreement on any changes that would be necessary to their contracts of employment, and confirm these in writing. Please note that the above guidance is of a general nature. It is important that practices ensure policy guidelines and contractual obligations are followed.

In addition to the above, FPM members can also email specific questions about employment issues to hrhelp@firstpracticemanagement.co.uk where our HR Specialist will help you with your query.


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