Do you have part-time staff in your organisation? They’re entitled to annual leave, just like full-timers. But just how much pro-rata holiday are they entitled to?

And what if a new employee joins your company halfway through the year? How much holiday will they be entitled to?

Working this sort of thing out is a relatively straightforward process.

Before we explain how to calculate pro-rate holiday entitlement, let’s have a quick look at your legal responsibilities as an employer.

What is the Legal Holiday Allowance?

Almost all UK workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday a year. For those who work five-day weeks, this extends to 28 days’ paid annual leave each year.

Under UK law, workers have the right to get paid for leave holiday entitlement during maternity, paternity and adoption leave. Workers also have the right to build up holiday entitlement while they’re off sick, and they have a legal right to request holiday leave at the same time as sick leave.

The law applies to agency workers, workers with irregular hours, and even workers on zero hour contracts.

No matter what the circumstances, statutory paid holiday leave is limited to 28 days. So even employees who work six days a week will only be entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday.

It’s up to you whether you include bank holidays as part of this statutory annual leave. It’s also up to you whether you offer any more leave on top of the statutory 28 days. You can set your own rules for any leave you offer beyond the statutory amount. This is why many companies like to offer additional leave as a reward for long service.

So What About Part-Time Staff?

Staff that work part-time may work fewer than five days a week, or they may work irregular hours. In any case, they’re still legally entitled to their 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday each year. But given that they’ll invariably work fewer hours each week than full-time staff, this 5.6 weeks’ entitlement will not necessarily extend to 28 days.

Pro-Rata Holiday Entitlement Calculator

The quickest and easiest way to work out the holiday entitlement for your part-time staff is to multiply the number of days they work each week by 5.6.

For example, if a pro-rata employee works two days a week, their statutory holiday entitlement will be 2 x 5.6, or 11.2 days.

Things get a little more complicated if your part-time staff work different hours on different days each week. You may also struggle to calculate the holiday entitlement for shift workers or term-time workers. But the main thing to remember is that people working irregular hours are entitled to paid time off for every hour they work.

The government has a handy online calculator to help you work out the statutory holiday entitlement for every member of staff, regardless of their hours or their shift patterns.

What About New Employees? And Employees Who Leave Partway Through the Year?

It’s up to you to define when your “holiday year” starts and ends. Some companies make it calendrical, starting in January and ending in December. Others prefer to align their holiday year with the financial year, so that it starts and ends each April.

Employees accrue holiday entitlement throughout the year. Whether you go by the calendrical year or the financial year, employees will accrue 1/12 of their total entitlement each month.

Learn how to calculate accrued holiday entitlement for your employees here.

For employees who join or leave part-way through the holiday year, their entitlement should be based on the amount of time they have actually worked for you.

For an employee starting part-way through the year, calculate their holiday entitlement from the day they join. If your holiday year starts on January 1, and they join you on April 1, their holiday entitlement will be based on the period running from April 1 to December 31. This will be 9/12 of a full year’s holiday allowance. So if they’re a full-time member of staff and they’re entitled to 28 days’ paid leave each year, this employee who starts on April 1 will be entitled to 21 days’ paid leave.

Similarly, if an employee leaves part-way through the holiday year, their entitlement will be based on the period from your holiday year start date up to their leaving date. So if your holiday year starts on January 1, and an employee leaves on April 1, they’ll be entitled to 3/12 of their full year’s holiday allowance. If they’re a full-time member of staff who’s entitled to 28 days’ paid leave each year, an employee who leaves on April 1 will have accrued 7 days’ paid leave.

If an employee’s leaving and you find that they’ve taken more than their entitled holidays, you may be able to reclaim the money in their final payslip. However, you must get this agreed in writing beforehand. On the other hand, if an employee’s taken less than their entitled holidays, could move their leaving date forward, or consider offering them payment instead of the time off.

Again, all of this can get more complicated for part-time employees, and for those who work irregular hours. Luckily, the government’s leave calculator can help you work out the pro-rate holiday entitlement for every conceivably scenario.

Take the Stress and Uncertainty out of Calculating Holiday Entitlement

Paid leave and holidays are supposed to be good things. They offer a chance for employees to relax and unwind, ready to return to work after sickness refreshed and renewed.

So it’s a shame that so many businesses struggle with holiday entitlement. In some businesses, the process for requesting leave can be so complicated that many workers may end up taking less than their statutory entitlement.

An employee who never takes a break, or who takes less time off than they should, is running the risk of developing stress, anxiety, and a host of other undesirable conditions.

Your employees need a break. So you have a responsibility to make things as straightforward as possible.

Our world-famous absence management software makes managing holiday entitlement easy. With our integrated holiday and leave planner, any employee can login from any device and instantly see how much leave they’re entitled to, and how much they have remaining. And if they want to book any time off, they can make a request, and get a confirmation, in a matter of seconds.

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