Do I have to take bank holidays as leave if I am not rostered to work?

I work as an administrator for the NHS. I was full time, but have since dropped to four days (30 hours). This was done via a change form which is the way things are done in the NHS and I do not have an actual contract stating 30 hours. My workplace is open seven days a week but due to cut backs they have reduced the admin to only one on a bank holiday and one on a Saturday and Sunday as opposed to three and it is left to the team leader to decide who should or should not work. However, I have to be available to work all bank holidays and weekends unless I specifically request any off as annual leave so I cannot plan anything until the roster is out. I also have to be available to work late nights i.e up to 8pm. This used to be 10pm but due to cut backs this is now 8pm so they don’t have to pay unsocial hours. My team leader does not work bank holidays or weekends, but the medical staff do so they have to have admin support. If I I am not rostered to work a Bank Holiday do I have to take this as an annual leave day? At the moment I am beoing told that I have to use my annual leave when rostered off on a Bank Holiday and cannot have this as my day off. Is this the case?

I understand that you work part time (30 hours / four days a week) and you have to be available to work weekends and public holidays if you are put on the rota. You have been told by your employer that where you are not on the rota to work a bank public holiday, you must take this as Annual Leave rather than have it as your day off.

Statutory Annual Leave Entitlement for full-time workers increased to 4.8 weeks on 1 October 2007 and to 5.6 weeks on 1 April 2009. It is widely reported that this was done to address the fact that there was no entitlement to public holidays under the Working Time Regulations, and many employers were counting the eight public holidays as part of the then four-week annual leave entitlement.
Despite the increases there is still no statutory right to time off (whether paid or otherwise) on a public holiday.

Whether you can be required to work on a public holiday is a matter for the contract. In many industries or occupations working on public holidays is a commercial or operational necessity. As you have stated, you are required, presumably under your contract, to be available to work public holidays.

As a part-time worker you are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ annual leave in the same way as any other worker. The Regulations do not specifically define what is meant by a week’s leave, but in practice a week’s leave involves a worker being away from work for a week. So, a week’s leave for a full-time worker will be five days, and as you work four days, a week will be four days. Viewing the entitlement in terms of the number of days (rather than weeks), you have a pro rata equivalent amount of annual leave to a full-time worker.

Employers who only give part-time workers paid time off for public and bank holidays that fall on days on which they would normally work may be in breach of the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, because part-time workers who do not normally work on Mondays, or those whose working days are variable, will be treated less favourably than comparable full-time workers.

The simplest way to achieve equality, as recommended by the BIS guidance, is to give part-time workers a pro rata entitlement to public holidays regardless of whether they normally work on days on which those holidays fall, and to monitor the days on which they work.

Essentially, if you are available to work on a public holiday and it is your employer who has not put you on the rota, you should not be forced to take the day as annual leave, subject to any conditions in your contract.

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