How to calculate holiday allowances for part-time employees

7 min read  |   22 March, 2024   By Aimée Brougham-Chandler

A row of multi-coloured deck chairs are lined up on a beach, facing out to sea. The photo is taken from behind them, looking out to the blue sea and the beautiful blue sky, with a few white clouds.

We all know it's important to take holiday - not just to support a healthy work/life balance and good mental health, but also for productivity reasons, too. 

But when some of your team works part-time, it can get tricky working out what holiday allowances they're entitled to.

In this blog, we look at how to calculate part-time holiday allowances (with worked examples). We also cover new laws around holiday entitlement for irregular hours and part-year workers. 


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The importance of taking holiday

What is the statutory holiday entitlement in the UK?

How to calculate part-time holiday allowances (with examples)

Stuck on a holiday calculation?


The importance of taking holiday

In small companies, employees often feel hesitant to take time off work because they believe there's always something that needs their attention. With fewer team members, they may feel like essential cogs in the business machine.

However, if a team is overworked, they can quickly become exhausted & disengaged - or even suffer from burnout. Employees should not only be aware of their holiday entitlement, but also encouraged to take breaks and utilise their time off.


What is the statutory holiday entitlement in the UK?

Full-time employees

All full-time employees in the UK should 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

An animated image shows a deck chair, a parasol and a beach ball against a blue background


Permanent workers (even part-year or zero-hours 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

Calculating holiday entitlement for part-time employees depends on how many weekly hours the employee works, along with what the standard full-time working week in the organisation is. Both of these numbers will be used in the calculation to work out a part-timer's holiday allowance. 

Calculating part-time holiday allowances can 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.

If you'd rather discover a calculation for working out part-time holiday, read on and we'll cover that, too.


Part-year employees or those who work irregular hours

The Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations introduce an optional 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 will be accrued at a rate of 12.07% of hours worked in a pay period for irregular hours & part-year workers. 

This applies to leave years that begin on/after 1st April 2024. 


Holiday pay methods for irregular hours/part-year employees

As of 1st April 2024:

Option 1: Holiday pay is worked out at 12.07% of actual hours worked during the pay period and paid when the leave is taken.

The first 4 weeks should be paid at the ‘normal’ rate, and the remaining 1.6 at the ‘basic’ rate. (This is known as reference period holiday pay).

Option 2: An extra 12.07% of pay for actual hours worked is added to each pay packet (with no additional pay when leave is taken). If this method is chosen, the entire amount of the worker’s leave will be paid at the ‘normal’ rate of pay.

Employers can decide to offer one or both options for these calculations.


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?

How can I work out a combined part-time holiday calculation (of statutory holiday + bank holidays)?

A combined part-time holiday calculation of statutory entitlement and bank holidays can be worked out by looking at the following example: 

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.

Fed up of complicated HR admin? 

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.

Sick of time-consuming spreadsheets? Find out how Breathe can streamline your holiday management today. 


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Author: Aimée Brougham-Chandler

An IDM-certified Digital Copywriter as of February 2023, Aimée is Breathe's Content Assistant. With a passion for guiding readers to solutions for their HR woes, she enjoys delving into & demystifying all things HR: From employee performance to health and wellbeing, leave to company culture & much more.

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