The HR Forum

Bank Holidays & Part Time Workers

Hi everyone

We have 2 ladies who work in the Lab, both work 3 days per week, one works Monday - Wednesday and the other, Wednesday - Friday.

We offer 25 days annual leave per annum, pro rata, so their annual entitlement would work out at 15 days per annum.  

Can anyone advise me what happens regarding Bank Holidays?  Do they have to take Bank Holidays as annual leave or is it just their good fortune that Bank Holidays fall on their days off?

This is causing mass confusion amongst everyone and I am hoping someone can spell it out for me in a simple format!

Thanks in advance.


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  • We have exactly this situation in my company - 2 lab workers and one is Mon-Weds and the other is Tues-Thurs.

    Our full time holiday allowance is 25 days. For part-time, we add in the 8 bank holidays to make 33 days, then allocate the allowance by pro rata-ing the 33 days, which gives 20 days in this case.

    The part-time people must book bank holidays from their annual allowance. However, because the Mon-Weds person has less freedom, if she wants to, on Monday bank holiday weeks we do allow her to work a Thurs instead of booking the Monday as holiday.

    Sounds like you are in a smallish company - you could maybe work a similar system.

  • Hi Rachel

    The debate around PT holidays lives on! 

    The simpliest way in which we calcualte and so employees understand is to pro-rata their full time equivalent.

    For example, if they would usually receive 28 days inc Bank hols as a 5 day worker but now work 3 days a week, lets say Mon - Wed: 

    28 / 5 working days x 3 days worked = 16.8 days (round to 17) 

    If your holiday year runs Jan - Dec, 7 Bank Holidays will fall on the working days therefore leaving 10 bookable days.

    If someone works Wed - Friday, only 1 will fall on their working day leaving 16 bookable days. 

    The two employees struggle to understand why one has 16 days to book and one only has 10. The key thing is that they both get 17 days overall, paid holiday away from work, but due to working patterns the Bank Holidays come off the total.

    Most then understand! (You will get those who think its unfair wherever you go!) 

    Happy to help and discuss further if you need to! It gets more exciting when they work different hours on different days so you have to put into an hours entitlement rather than days!!


  • Hi Rachel,

    I agree, it's only an issue if you pay staff for their PHs, assuming you do, we also operate a pro-rata as described below.

    However, don't forget that if they work extra days on top of their standard 3 days per week, then not only will they need extra pay for those days (and pension on that salary etc), but they will also accrue extra holiday and public holidays, albeit a very tiny amount for just 1 day extra worked, but that soon accumulates if they end up doing quite a few extra days............... and then comes the unpaid overtime vs extra days debate.  It's worth setting out your stall early on that as it manages both the employee and line manager's expectations. (We say that coming in on a day they wouldn't usually = extra day and paid, staying late = unpaid)

    Hope this helps


  • Hi Rachel

    Great question and alot of HR professionals this can be a nightmare to manage and explain to employees.

    As you will know there is there is no statutory right to paid public holidays and some employers only give this benefit if the holiday in question falls on a day on which the worker would otherwise normally be at work. This can result in unfairness to part-time workers who happen not to work on Mondays (when most bank holidays fall).

    The question whether an employer should give time off in lieu for missed bank holidays is not addressed in the WTR 1998 themselves. However, employers who only give part-time workers paid time off for public and bank holidays that fall on days on which they would normally work may be in breach of the Part Time Worker Regulations because some part-time workers (generally those who do not normally work on Mondays, or those whose working days are variable) will be treated less favourably than comparable full-time workers.

    The simplest way to achieve equality in such cases is as Clare describes below and to give part-time workers a pro rata entitlement of the 8 public holidays, regardless of whether they normally work on days on which those holidays fall, and to monitor the days on which they work.  This was the approach recommended  by BEIS guidance on part time workers (which is no longer available online).

     So if an employee works 3 days per work they would receive 5 BHs (3/5*8) and it is up to them to 'use' these as the BHs fall.  So if they work Monday and Fridays they may need to use some of the 'core' holiday enittlement to take all the BH days off.  If they worked Tues, Weds and Thurs they would probably be able to use some of their pro ratd BH days when they choose to do so, (as there are less than 5 BHs which fall on a Tues, Weds or Thurs).

    I hope this helps!

    All the best


  • Hi Racheal,

    We had the same problem with some employees gaining and some losing, so now we also pro rota the bank holidays, so it is fair to everyone regardless of what days they work using the template below.

    Hope this helps.



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