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Part-time holiday calculations

03 November 2005

Jonathan Exten-Wright, of solicitors DLA Piper Rudnick, advises on how to calculate the holiday entitlements of part-time workers

The problem
The staff of a large hotel work in a variety of ways: part-time, full-time, fixed days and on a shift system. The hotel also uses seasonal workers to cover busy periods. The hotel is having trouble working out who is entitled to what holidays, if any. They ask for help setting up a method of calculation.

The law
Under the Working Time Regulations 1998 all workers are entitled to four weeks' paid annual leave regardless of length of service or number of weekly working hours. The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 provide that part-time workers must not be treated less favourably than comparable full-time colleagues, unless the difference in treatment is objectively justified. Part-timers must, therefore, get a pro-rata proportion of full-time holiday entitlement.

Expert advice
Some hotels mistakenly assume that seasonal staff have no holiday entitlement, but this is not the case. Under working time holiday rules, during the first year of employment, entitlement to leave accrues at the rate of one-twelfth of four weeks on the first day of each month. Leave may be taken only as it accrues, but a fraction of less than half a day is treated as half a day. Seasonal workers are covered by these provisions, so, for example, a seasonal employee working four days a week, 12 hours a day (four fifths of full-time), would accrue entitlement to one-and-a-half days off every month.

For part-timers, there is no single way of calculating holiday entitlement that works in every organisation for every type of employee. In an industry where employees work such a variety of days and hours the best approach is initially on a case-by-case basis. Once you have a system for certain categories of employees you can apply the system more widely. Here are two examples:

Sally
A receptionist, Sally, works part-time three days a week: Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Full-time receptionists work five days a week, which may vary. Full-time holiday entitlement is 28 days - four weeks, plus eight days in lieu of bank holidays.

Sally is entitled to a pro-rata amount of full-time holiday and bank holidays. To calculate her holiday entitlement, multiply the full-time entitlement (28 days) by the number of days Sally works (three) and divide by the number of days full-time staff work (five). Sally's entitlement is 16.8 days.

Matthew
A barman, Matthew, works part-time, seven hours a day, four days a week - a total of 28 hours a week. A full-time barman works nine hours a day, six days a week - a total of 54 hours a week. Bar staff are entitled to 20 days' holiday a year including bank holidays. Matthew is entitled to a pro-rata amount of holiday. Matthew works 51.85% of full-time hours. Full-time leave entitlement is 180 hours (20 days x 9 hours), so Matthew is entitled to 51.85% of 180 hours, which is 93.33 hours, or 13.5 days.

Check list
To calculate leave entitlement for part-time employees:

  • Identify the leave entitlement of a full-timer doing the same job.
  • Calculate the proportion of full-time hours worked by the part-timer.
  • Calculate a pro-rata leave entitlement.
  • Keep a leave record - indicate the total number of hours of holiday allowance and deduct all hours of leave as they are taken.
  • When making calculations always consider whether part-timers are being treated less favourably than full-time colleagues or whether there is unfair disparity between different part-timers.

Beware!
Treating part-time workers less favourably than full-time colleagues will be unlawful unless it is objectively justified. A worker can request a written statement from their employer giving the employer's reasons for such treatment. If a part-time worker is unhappy about how their employer is treating them, they can bring a claim in an employment tribunal, either under the part-time workers legislation or the sex discrimination laws. The amount of compensation which can be awarded is unlimited and, in a sex discrimination case, may include an element for injury to feelings.

Contacts

Jonathan Exten-Wright DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary 020 796 6619 jonathan.exten-wright@dlapiper.com
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