- Posted Wednesday February 26, 2014
The third most popular asked question on the Advice line is around Part-time annual leave entitlements. Part-time workers are protected from being treated less favourably than equivalent full-time workers just because they are part-time. A part-time worker is someone who works fewer hours than a full time worker.
Almost all workers 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.
Q. What is the annual leave entitlement for part time staff, for example a lady 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 she works 20 hours per week, and the full time week is for example 37.5 hours 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 normally be rounded up. But if she works a different numbers of hours on her working days, it may be better to quote her holiday entitlement in hours rather than days. So if she takes a day off on a day when she would normally work 5 hours, then 5 hours is taken off her 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 his holiday, and what would happen if he takes a Tuesday off, would be a whole day or half a day?
A. Work out his 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 his remaining holiday allowance, if he takes 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 his remaining holiday allowance (assuming he is 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. 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, is anything already written in employees' contracts? If not, you can decide what to offer. Below are two approaches which you might consider.
- For full timers there are 8 bank/public holidays (9 in Scotland, 10 in Northern Ireland) 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.
- 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. 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.
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 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 obtain further information via the FPM website. Alternatively members can also email specific questions about employment issues to email@example.com where your question will be treated in confidence and will normally be answered (by email) within 2 working days of submission.