How many paid bank holidays should a part-timer receive? It seems like a simple question, but the answer is often not entirely straightforward.
The starting point is the individual’s contract of employment. However, in many cases, this will simply state that the employee is entitled to public and bank holidays in addition to their normal holiday entitlement. For part-time staff this means they receive holiday on public and bank holidays that fall on days when they would normally work. That is all very well but it means that part-timers who work on Mondays do rather better when it comes to bank holidays than those who do not happen to work on Mondays. For obvious reasons, that can cause some people to feel hard done by. And it might even lead to a claim under the Part-Time Workers Regulations if it means that a part-timer’s total paid holiday entitlement is proportionately less than that of a comparable full-time worker.
So if the employment contract does not specify how bank holidays will be dealt with, the employer can be left in a bit of a quandary. Pro-rating the entitlement of all part-timers will expose the employer to claims for breach of contract from those individuals who work on Mondays. But choosing not to pro-rate may be equally problematic because it may lead to complaints from those who do not work on Mondays. The only safe option in this situation is to give those who would otherwise miss out additional pay or time off in lieu so that their total annual paid holiday entitlement is equivalent to that of a comparable full time worker.
The good news is that the problem can be easily avoided by ensuring that the employment contract deals with the issue. The most common way is to add wording to all part time workers’ contracts stating that they only receive a pro-rated amount of bank holidays. Another method is for the contracts for all employees to specify their total holiday entitlement (inclusive of bank and public holidays) and to include wording which states that employees must take holiday on any bank and public holidays that fall on a normal working day. This is fair, easy to administer and avoids the risk of part-time worker claims.
If you would like further advice on this issue or any help with amending your contracts please contact Seth Roe: firstname.lastname@example.org / 01242 631 262