Bank Holiday Entitlement for Part & Full Time Employees

Are part-time employees entitled to take bank holidays off?

There is no statutory right to bank holiday entitlement for part-time (or full time) employees or for them to be paid. There’s certainly no statutory entitlement to be paid at a rate of time and a half, or even as double time.

To identify if your part-time employees are entitled to take and be paid for bank holidays you will need to review their contract wording. Does it identify any details regarding their entitlement to bank holidays. If the wording is ambiguous, it is time to review your contracts, and your annual leave policy and procedure.

Bank Holiday Entitlement and Contract Wording

When did you last review the wording of your part-time employee contracts? The current contracts may have clauses that don’t suit or reflect your actual business requirements. Once you have reviewed them, you may wish to make changes however, you can’t change a contract unilaterally to suit your business needs.

You can issue contracts which reflect your requirements to new employees, however, this may then cause administrative and management inefficiencies if some part time employees operate on one set of bank holiday rules to another.

Your contracts will benefit from referring to holiday entitlement as being pro-rated to that of the full time equivalent for part-time employees. To be consistent, and to reduce any potential discrimination claims, it is better to pro-rate the full time equivalent inclusive of bank holidays, regardless of whether you recognise these days or not as an employer.

The pro-rated entitlement will be the employee’s number of annual leave days to be paid over the annual leave year. Bank holidays would need to come out of this entitlement, either as a choice, if the business does not recognise them – or as part of the entitlement if the business does recognise them.

So the answer to the question – are part-time employees entitled to take bank holidays off, all depends on the way you choose to manage bank holidays for part-time employees. Make sure you understand all the options and identify which one will ensure business efficiency during these periods.

The Working Time Regulations 1998 provides that full-time workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks paid annual leave a year – this equates to 28 days, which may or may not include bank holidays.

Implementing bank holiday entitlement to suit your business needs

As an employer, if your business requires employees to work on bank holidays, then you may choose to word your contracts in such a way that it provides the employee with 28 days of annual leave. Make it clear that this does not include bank holidays. In this situation, an employee wishing to have a bank holiday off would simply follow your annual leave procedure to book the day off as usual, as it would be part of their holiday entitlement and they would be paid for this.

However, you may be an employer who does not require anyone to work on bank holidays. In this instance, your contracts should be worded in a way which details the bank holidays and states that employees can book off the remaining 20 days as they choose.

Your company contracts may specify 8 standard bank holidays – again, you may choose to reference these, in the event there is an additional bank holiday. If this were to happen, you would not be legally obliged to allow the employee to take it off or be paid for it.

There are many combinations of wording employers can use in their contracts. However, once the contract has been agreed, any changes must be mutually agreed with your employee.

Contract wording can get complicated and it is easy to be confused with holiday entitlement. If you need HR advice on bank holidays and employee contracts, please call us 01455 231982 or email us at jude@jrhr.ltd

 

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