Holidays and Holiday Entitlements - Your Questions Answered

Your HR Questions Answered

Holidays and Holiday Entitlements - Your Questions Answered

Posted on 21st May 2019
Q:  How much holiday are my employees entitled to?

A:  The minimum statutory holiday entitlement for a full time worker in the UK is 5.6 weeks paid holiday (which is equivalent to 28 days).  This entitlement includes all public holidays, but these do not automatically have to be given as holidays.  A part-time worker will receive a pro-rata holiday entitlement (including for bank holidays) so their actual holiday entitlement will depend on the number of hours / days they work – see below.


It is important to remember that full and part time workers will continue to accrue their appropriate holiday entitlement while still in your employment.  That is why employees on maternity leave or sickness absence accrue holidays while away from work.


Q:  How do I work out holiday entitlement for part-time workers?

A:  If part-timers work the same number of days, but shorter hours, they will be entitled to 28 days (5.6 working weeks equivalent) holiday – they will just be shorter days. 


If they work less days, you have to calculate a pro-rata entitlement, which can be a bit complicated ……


Firstly, divide the full allowance including bank holidays (e.g. 28 days) by the number of days worked for a full time worker (e.g. 5).  Then multiply this by the number of days worked by the part-timer (e.g. 3).  So, in this example: 28 ÷ 5 x 3 = 16.8 days.  Next, work out how many bank holidays fall on the employee’s working days in that holiday year and deduct these from the total to show the number of holidays left for the employee to take.


If the part-timer works an irregular number of hours, such as 4 hours on a Monday and Thursday and 8 hours on a Wednesday, it is best to work out the holiday entitlement in hours. 


First, calculate the number of hours worked by a full timer – e.g. 37.5 hours x 52 weeks = 1950.  Work out the full time holiday allowance in hours – e.g. 28 days x 7.5 hours = 210.  Then work out the hours worked by the part-timer – in this example 16 hours x 52 weeks = 832.  Divide the part-timer’s hours by the full-timer’s hours which is 832 ÷ 1950 = 0.43.  Multiply that sum (0.43) by the full-time holiday allowance in hours, which in this case is 0.43 x 210 = 90.3 hours.  Finally, you will need to deduct the bank holidays that fall on working days.  Then have a well earned rest and a nice cuppa!


Q:  Are part time workers entitled to bank holidays?

A:  Irrespective of whether the worker is full time or part time there is no automatic right to time off on a public holiday.  The key thing is that each employee receives the minimum holiday entitlement overall.  The pro-rata entitlement for a part-time worker will include any allowance for bank holidays.


Q:  I there a maximum number of holiday I can allow my staff?
  1. A:  As long as you provide the statutory minimum holidays you may allow any number of holidays.


Songkick, Eventbrite, Hub Spot and Netflix are among some well known technology based business allow almost unlimited holidays.  Virgin Management, the parent company of Virgin’s world wide operations has offered the top layer of management extended paid leave since 2014.  They believe it has created a happier and more empowered environment which is an incentive for some employees.


If this is something you would like to introduce into your business it would mean a contractual change.  This would require a consultation with the employees concerned to get agreement.  This would also be the case if you wanted to revert to statutory levels at some point in the future


Q:  Can additional holidays be taken as unpaid leave?

A:  Employees do not have the right to take additional holidays as unpaid leave.  However, as an employer, you may grant unpaid leave at your discretion in response to requests from staff.  It is important to bear in mind the process and fairness by which you approve / refuse unpaid leave and remember that employees continue to accrue paid holiday entitlement while they are on unpaid leave.


Q:  Can a holiday entitlement be carried over to another holiday year?

A:  If a company provides the minimum statutory minimum of 28 days holiday, these should not be carried over.  This is because the Working Time Directive requires employees to have 28 days in a year.  Any holidays above the statutory minimum may be carried over. 


However, you may want to put a time limit on when they must be taken to avoid large number of carried over days to be accrued.

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