Bank Holiday Guidance for Employers on Part Time Workers

April and May are busy months for bank holidays. Here is some useful guidance on how to manage bank holidays for part time workers.

Holiday Entitlement

As we know, the statutory entitlement to annual leave is for 5.6 weeks (or 28 days) for staff who work five days a week.  You may choose to include the bank holidays within the statutory leave, or you may wish to be more generous and give bank holidays off as an addition to paid leave.  It is your contractual terms that will determine this.

Contractual wording

You should be careful how your contracts of employment are worded.  If your contracts state ‘statutory entitlement plus bank holidays”, this grants your staff to 5.6 weeks (28 days) plus the 8 bank holidays.  This is because statutory entitlement is 5.6 weeks.

How many bank holidays are part time or irregular hours workers entitled to?

It is important that you treat full-time workers and part-time workers equally – and this includes for bank holidays. So, if you allow one to have additional paid bank holidays, you should also allow the other.  It is important to treat full time and part time workers consistently and equally.

Part time workers (including those on variable or irregular hours) are still entitled to the 8 bank holidays irrespective of whether or not they normally work on the days on which the bank holidays fall. However, for them it is calculated on a pro-rated allowance. 

How it is managed in practice?

There are different approaches to calculating part time bank holidays. If your part time worker works a fixed number of days per week in a 5-day week, you can calculate it based on how many ‘5ths’ they work.  If their working pattern is less fixed, then the preference is to calculate it according to their contractual hours.

Once you have calculated the bank holiday entitlement for a part time worker, this is added to their holiday entitlement. You may prefer to separate out the bank holiday entitlement so your member of staff can see both entitlements. By separating the allowances out, it also allows your staff to know how many hours they need to allocate to taking bank holidays off across the year and then they can reserve that amount.

Then throughout the year, any bank holidays that fall on the workers normal day of work and they don’t work it, would then be taken from either the total allowance or from the bank holiday allowance (depending on how you have given it to the worker).

Depending upon the part time workers pattern of work, their bank holiday entitlement may leave them with additional entitlement or indeed a deficit in their entitlement. This is because the majority of bank holidays fall on a Monday or Friday.

Where they have additional entitlement, you should allow them to take this leave at another time as agreed with you.

Where the bank holiday entitlement given exceeds, they will need to use their holiday entitlement to cover the deficit.  Or, you may wish to consider allowing the worker to swap a day during a bank holiday week, or make up the time elsewhere so they don’t have to take leave from their main holiday entitlement.

Bank holidays for part time workers is a thorny area. If you have any queries or need help, please contact Hill HR.

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