Q And A
Pro rata bank holidays: Ask the expert
I have been off work since May 31st 2007 and return to work on 3rd June 2008 after having my son. I used to work 5 days a week 9am - 5pm and am returning 4 days a week having a Monday off as I have to take my son to hospital since he was born with a twisted foot. Am I right in saying that I should be entitled to a lieu day for any bank holidays landing on a Monday which is my non-working day?
Answer by Anna Docherty
This question is not as straightforward as it sounds since it depends on the working pattern of the employee and her fellow colleagues and also what is laid down in her contract of employment or in a Company Handbook, if one exists.
Legally, part-timers should not be treated less favourably than comparable full-timers in their entitlement to public/bank holidays. Allowing full-timers the day off, but not part-timers, is clearly less favourable treatment and unlawful. To comply with the law, in some circumstances employers may give workers a paid day off if their day of work happens to coincide with the public holiday, without giving time off in lieu to those who would not ordinarily work on that day. This should produce a fair result where a shift system means that full-time and part-time workers are equally likely to be scheduled to work on a public holiday.
However, where workers work fixed days each week, such a practice could put part-timers at a disadvantage. This is because most bank/public holidays fall on a Monday and those who do not work Mondays will be entitled to proportionately fewer days off.
In many workplaces, these workers will predominantly be part-timers. Therefore, to remove any disadvantage, a common approach is to give all workers a pro rata entitlement of days off in lieu according to the number of hours they work. So in your case, you would get 4/5 of the 8 bank holidays. This is then added to your annual leave and all bank holidays are taken from this allowance. For example, if you had a holiday allowance of 20 days you would add 4/5 of 8 bank holidays = 6.4 days (round to 6.5). This makes a total holiday entitlement of 26.5 days, including bank holidays. Any bank holidays that fall on your normal days of work have to be 'booked' from your 20 day entitlement.
There is no one “formula” for this, as long as employers are treating full time and part time employees consistently and fairly. Many employers will have a policy laid down for this or there may be a reference to it in your contract of employment so I would suggest that you check these documents and then have a discussion with your employer.
It might also be worth checking with other part-time people in your company what the process has been for them on bank holidays.
Anna Docherty has over 14 years’ experience working in human resources.
While every care has been taken in compiling this answer, WorkingMums cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. This information is not intended to be a substitue for specific legal advice.
If you have a question on childcare, employment legislation, careers, juggling work and family, setting up your own business, education or child psychology email it to our panel of experts at firstname.lastname@example.org