A guide to calculating holiday allowance for part-time employees

4 min read  |   24 November, 2022   By Sarah Benstead

Lady relaxing on a rainbow beach chair looking out to the ocean in the evening sun. She is wearing a hat with a pink ribbon around it.

As a leader, sometimes it can be extremely easy to dive straight in at work and forget to come up for air. The same goes for your staff: they work hard to get results, but it's essential they take holiday every now and then in order to continue working at optimum performance - even part-time staff.

Often, in small companies staff can feel as though it's inconvenient to take time off work as there is always something that needs to be done and not as many cogs in the business machine.

But a team that is worked too hard can soon become burned out and disengaged, and it's up to you to make sure you know how much holiday they're entitled to - and that they take it.

Here's how you can easily calculate holiday for part-time employees.

What holiday are staff entitled to?

Full-time employees

Almost all workers in the UK receive 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday entitlement a year and this can include bank holidays, but doesn't usually (this is up to the employer).

Related: Bank holiday entitlement for part-time workers: how to calculate

Permanent workers (even part-year or zero-hour workers) that work 5 days a week must legally receive 28 days of paid annual leave. This is calculated by multiplying a normal working week (5 days) by the annual entitlement of 5.6 weeks.

Part-time employees

Figuring out full-time holiday allowance is nice and easy - but what about part-time employees?

This can often be a real headache, especially if you only do it once every now and again.

That’s why Breathe have built a part-time holiday calculator to make this a breeze. All you have to do is enter the data required and the rest is worked out for you.

How to calculate part-time holiday allowances

Calculating holiday allowances for part time staff can often be a daunting task - but don't worry, we're here to make it easier for you.

Please note, these calculations are just one method of calculating holiday entitlement.

Calculating holiday entitlements for part-time employees

Calculating part-time holiday entitlements can get tricky, which is why it’s often best to work this out in hours.

This allows for flexibility and increased accuracy when dealing with part-time weekly working hours (and differing organisational weekly working hours).

The below calculation and example refer to a holiday entitlement calculation for a part-time employee, excluding their bank holiday entitlement.

We’ll cover bank holiday entitlements in the next example and will detail combined holiday and statutory entitlement in a further, final example.

Compulsory leave in hours, divided by standard full-time working hours of the organisation, multiplied by number of weekly hours the employee is contracted to work = holiday entitlement

Example - 150 hours statutory leave:

In practice, an example of this would look like:

150 hours (compulsory leave) ÷ by 37.5 (the weekly working hours of the organisation) x by 12 (the employee’s weekly working hours) = 48 hours

Why not find your calculator right now and give it a go yourself?


Combined calculation (statutory holiday + bank holidays)

Example – 150 hours statutory leave + 60 hours bank holiday entitlement:

In this example, based on the above information of an employee working 12 hours a week, the example for this employee’s holiday entitlement combined with their statutory entitlement would be: 210 ÷ 37.5 x 12 = 67.2 hours.

(At Breathe, we’d round this 0.2 up to the nearest half day, making this 67.5 hours.)

These hourly figures can be converted into days, based on how many hours a day your organisation/the employee in question works.

Legal rulings around calculating holiday entitlements for part-year employees

The Supreme Court ruled in 2022 that permanent employees (and workers) who only work part of the year are still entitled by law to 5.6 weeks of holiday per year - regardless of how many hours they've worked. 

The ruling states that there's now an automatic entitlement of 5.6 weeks (or 28 days) in a year.

Holiday entitlement can no longer be pro-rated for permanent part-year or zero-hours workers to reflect the number of weeks the employees have worked in a year. The government has launched a consultation on this ruling & plan to introduce a holiday entitlement reference period (for irregular hours & part-year workers). 


Stuck on a holiday calculation?

We understand how tricky it can be to work out holiday calculations manually - which is why we’ve created a free online tool for SMEs which does all the hard work for you. Use Breathe’s Holiday Entitlement Calculator to help calculate pro-rata holiday entitlements quickly and easily.

For more information, download our free guide to holiday entitlements


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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