How to Balance Bank Holidays and Keep All of Your Partners Happy

It barely seems likes any time at all since the Christmas and New Year period, but it won’t be long before the next bank holidays arrive. One question we are frequently asked is how partnerships can fairly apportion bank holidays so those part-time partners don’t miss out.

The challenge

Because the majority of bank holidays fall on a Monday or Friday, a part-time partner who does not usually work on either or both of these days may feel they are unfairly ‘losing out’ on any benefits their full-time partners receive in relation to bank holidays.

For example, in a job share where ‘Partner A’ works Monday and Tuesday, and ‘Partner B’ works Wednesday to Friday, in 2017 seven bank holidays will fall when ‘Partner A’ is scheduled to work, whilst only one bank holiday will fall on a day when ‘Partner B’ would otherwise be working.

So how can you best manage this issue?

Your options

Because partners are not employees, there is no statutory right to paid bank holidays. How you choose to deal with bank holidays is a commercial decision to be decided between the partners. However, to avoid a potential claim of discrimination, you should ensure that part-time partners are treated no less favourably than full-time partners – it is sensible to ensure that any scheme you do put in place is fair.

So, what are your options?

Pro rata entitlement – One route you can take is to add all holiday leave and bank holidays (based on a full-time partner) together, then calculate the total leave entitlement pro rata, based on the number of days to be worked. Everyone then gets an equivalent total amount of leave, but the problem is that the bank holidays are fixed days – this means part-timers working on a Monday will have less discretion over their days off than those working on, say, a Wednesday.

If you regard this as a problem, you could come to an agreement whereby, for example, any partner forced to use more than a given percentage of their total leave allocation on bank holidays is given an additional day of paid leave.

No adjustment – A less popular option, but one which is followed by some partnerships, is for there to be no adjustment at all for any part-time partner. If a bank holiday falls when you are scheduled to work, then lucky you… and it’s bad luck if it doesn’t fall on your scheduled day! The problem with this option is it may become hard to persuade part-timers to work mid-week.

Profit share adjustment – An alternative mechanism is to calculate profit shares based upon actual sessions scheduled to be worked. Since bank holidays are known in advance, the profit shares can be adjusted to account for them. This is a complicated option leading to small annual changes in profit shares and is, therefore, unusual.

Conclusion

Whichever option you choose, the most important thing is to ensure that it is clearly set out in your partnership deed and, of course, that your partnership deed is up to date and valid. Older partnership deeds, in particular, tend not to cater well for part-time partners.

Without a valid partnership deed, there will be no formal entitlement to leave of any kind and no clarity – for example, on what you will earn when you are absent, or who should pay for locum cover.

Our recommendations

In our experience, rolling all holiday leave and bank holidays together to generate a pro rata entitlement can work well. However, as we’ve already mentioned, ultimately it is a commercial decision that needs to be taken by partners working in the best interests of the practice.

DR Solicitors provides specialist advice medical professionals throughout England and Wales. For more information about partnership deeds, or for any other enquiries, please visit the DR Solicitors website ( http://hubs.ly/H07gwkT0) or contact Daphne Robertson on 01483 511555 or email d.robertson@drsolicitors.com

 

Upcoming Bank Holidays in Scotland

Friday 14th April Good Friday; Monday 1st May Early May Bank Holiday; Monday 29th May Spring Bank Holiday; Monday 7th August Summer Bank Holiday; Thursday 30th November St Andrew’s Day; Monday 25th December Christmas Day; Tuesday 26th December Boxing Day

Upcoming Bank Holidays in Northern Ireland

Friday 14th April Good Friday; Monday 17th April Easter Monday; Monday 1st May Early May Bank Holiday; Monday 29th May Spring Bank Holiday; Wednesday 12th July Battle of the Boyne Day; Monday 28th August Summer Bank Holiday; Monday 25th December Christmas Day; Tuesday 26th December Boxing Day

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Comments

Jennie 29/03/2017

The same issues apply for staff. We choose the pro-rata entitlement. To get over the problem of the "fixed annual leave", I agree that in a week that includes a bank holiday, as long as we have physical space to accommodate them, the staff member can choose come in on one of their non-working days to "pay back" the bank holiday.


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