How to calculate bank holiday entitlement for part-time workers

7 min read  |   25 April, 2024   By Sarah Benstead

A woman is looking at an annual leave calendar on her screen, pointing at it with a pen. She seems to be responsible for staff holiday scheduling.

There are more than 8 million people who work part-time in the UK.

If you have part-time workers, or are considering taking one on, then you need to ensure that you know exactly how much holiday they are entitled to - and this includes bank holidays.

This is a legal requirement, so it's important you get it right. To help you out, here’s all you need to know about bank holiday allowances for your part-time staff.

Firstly, let's recap on what the deal is with standard holiday entitlement.


Holiday entitlement for part-time employees

Do you get paid bank holidays? Bank holidays & part-time working

How to calculate bank holiday entitlement for part-time staff in the UK

How Breathe can help


Holiday entitlement for part-time employees

Calculating holiday entitlement for part-time employees depends on whether they work regular hours or not.

For employees who work regular hours, employers can use a holiday year (or an accrual system) to work out how much leave their staff should get (e.g. working out a pro-rata of what full time employees receive. Breathe's holiday calculator can help if you get stuck.)

If your employees work irregular hours or you employ staff for part of the year, employers must use a specific system of accrual. 


New 2024 ruling

The Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations introduced a way to calculate holiday entitlement for those who work irregular hours or for part of the year. 
This means that from the first year of work, holiday for these workers accrues at a rate of 12.07% of hours worked in a pay period for irregular hours & part-year workers. 

Read this blog for the 2 options for calculating holiday pay for irregular hours/part-year workers.  


Do I have to provide bank holidays as paid holiday?

You don't have to give bank holidays as paid leave, but many companies do choose to include them as part of the annual leave entitlement. 

If your workplace shuts on bank holidays and you normally work on those days, you may have to take them as a paid holiday. 

Legally, employers can't refuse employees from taking bank holidays outright, however, it's always worth checking what's detailed in the employment contract


Pro rata bank holidays calculation

For part-time annual leave, the same 5.6 factor is used.

Let's look at an example - if an employee is working two days per week, they'd be entitled to 11.2 days’ holiday. Or, if they work three days per week, they'd receive 16.8 days. Of course, part of a day is difficult to take as a holiday, so part days are generally rounded up to keep things simple.

Stuck on holiday entitlements? Breathe's Holiday Calculator can help work out your allowance in a few simple steps. 



Do you get paid bank holidays? Bank holidays and part-time working

Bank holidays do not need to be given as paid leave, however, most companies do choose to include them as part of their annual leave policy for full-time employees. For part-time workers, this may work out differently. 


Bank holidays for part-time workers 

Most of the UK’s bank holidays fall on a Monday or Friday. In companies that give paid bank holidays, and where part-time employees don’t usually work on these days, those part-time employees would end up receiving proportionately fewer days’ leave than their full-time colleagues.

To prevent this inequality, many companies give their part-time employees a pro-rata bank holiday allowance. This is calculated based on the number of hours worked, regardless of the days worked and whether they would be bank holidays.



How to calculate bank holiday entitlement for part-time staff in the UK

Let’s take an example of a company where the full-time employees receive 8 bank holidays per year.

There are usually 8 bank holidays per year in England and Wales, and these are taken as paid leave either on top of or part of their normal allowance.

These employees work 5 days a week, equalling a total of 40 hours, so they're effectively receiving 64 hours of bank holiday leave (8 bank holidays x 8 hour working day = 64 hours).

So, here's the magic formula you'll need:

(number of hours worked per week / number of hours in a full-time week) x (number of bank holidays x hours per working day)

Here's an example of how to calculate bank holiday entitlement for a part-time worker:

No. of hours worked per week (A)

Hours worked per week divided by no. of hours in a full-time week (B)

No. of bank holidays x hours per working day (C)

Multiply (B)

by (C)

Result: Part-time bank holiday entitlement (in hours)

16 hours

16 / 40 (in this example) = 0.4

8 x 8 = 64

0.4 x 64 = 25.6

25.6 hours

This can cause minor hurdles, though - for example, what happens if a part-time employee is only working part of a day?

You simply round it up. In the example above, the 25.6 hours would be rounded up to 26 hours, which for an 8-hour day is three and a quarter days. 

If the part-time worker is due to work on a bank holiday, then they would need to book it as a holiday as normal, and it would come out of their total holiday entitlement.

And that's it - you have everything you need to calculate bank holiday entitlement for your part-time workers.

For more useful information on holiday entitlement, download our free guide.



Breathe makes part-time bank holiday entitlement calculations a breeze

Save valuable time on holiday management with Breathe. Our holiday management software allows you and your employees to feel secure in the knowledge that their holiday entitlement is managed centrally and is easy to monitor. 

Try Breathe for free today and take the stress out of managing bank holiday entitlement for part-time staff.

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Author: Sarah Benstead

Sarah is a Product Marketing Specialist here at Breathe. Always innovating, she loves writing about product releases in an engaging & informative way. When she's not coming up with new ideas, she enjoys long walks with her dog, Clifford.

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