Fair Bank Holidays for Part-Time Employees

Not all part-time employees are created equal. In fact, even two employees that work the exact same number of hours and days can make it difficult to give them both a fair holiday allowance. In this article, we explore the potential pitfalls around this, and illustrate the best way to balance bank holidays for part-time employees.

Imagine a company with three employees: one full-time (Fred) and two part-time (Mary and Tony). Each employee is entitled to 20 days holiday per year if they work full time – this is their Full Time Entitlement. In addition to those 20, they also get bank holidays, Christmas, Easter, etc. We refer to these as public holidays and there are 8 of them in England and Wales each year.

Fred works full-time, 5 days a week, so gets his full entitlement of 20 days holiday. He also gets all 8 public holidays – in The Holiday Tracker, we show these on his calendar in light grey:

So essentially, Fred gets 28 days holiday, but 8 of the days are fixed dates.

Next, we have Mary and Tony. Both work four days a week, but Mary works Mon-Thu, and Tony works Tue-Fri. Because they work 80% of a normal week, they both get 80% of their Full Time Entitlement, which gives them 16 days holiday instead of 20.

However, Because Mary works on a Monday, and most of the public holidays fall on a Monday, she also scores for 7 of the 8 public holidays:

So essentially, Mary gets 23 days holiday (16 + 7), but 7 of the days are fixed dates.

Because Tony doesn’t work a Monday, he misses out on a lot of those extra public holidays, and only gets 4 of the 8 public holidays:

So, Tony gets 20 days holiday (16 + 4), but 4 of the days are fixed dates.

This means Tony gets 3 days less holiday than Mary.  Unfair.

To balance this fairness, you can give part-time employees a pro-rata of the public holidays and then make them use their holidays to cover the public holidays they should be working.  80% of 8 is 6.5 (rounded up to the nearest half-day), so we add that to the 16 days Mary and Tony get, giving them 22.5 days.

This is the key point here.  Now, Tony and Mary BOTH get 22.5 days holiday.  Fair.

Now because there are 7 public holidays that fall on days that Mary usually works, we take 7 days off her entitlement leaving her with 15.5.

There are 4 public holidays that fall on days that Tony usually works, so we take them off his entitlement, leaving him with 18.5.

But remember, they BOTH get 22.5 days holiday, it’s just that 7 of Mary’s holidays are fixed dates, while only 4 of Tony’s are fixed.  It’s no different to the fact that Fred (who works full-time) gets 28 days holiday, but 8 of those are fixed.

If you use The Holiday Tracker to manage your employees’ annual leave, then each employee’s entitlement is already calculated for you.  Even if they work part-time, start working in the middle of a calendar year and switch from working 3 days, to 4 days and back to 3 days again.  No matter how complicated an employee gets, the correct entitlement is calculated automatically.  Sign up for a 7-day free trial, or book a demo. 

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