A Guide for Employers: Bank Holiday Entitlement for Part-Time Workers

A Guide for Employers: Bank Holiday Entitlement for Part-Time Workers


Managing bank holiday entitlement for part-time workers can be complex – as an employer, it is crucial to understand your obligations to ensure fair and equal treatment of all employees. This guide will help you navigate the intricacies of bank holiday entitlement for part-time staff.

Legal Framework

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, all workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks of paid holiday per year. For a full-time worker (5 days per week), this equates to 28 days, which may include bank holidays. There is no statutory requirement to provide paid leave specifically on bank holidays, but employers must ensure the overall holiday entitlement is met.

There is no legal requirement to recognise public or bank holidays, but many employers do so, as part of employees’ annual entitlement. However, some employers believe that they must only provide this benefit if the bank holiday falls on a day that the employee would normally be working. This is incorrect and can be unfair to part-time workers who, for example, do not work on Mondays, the day that most bank holidays occur.

The Working Time Regulations 1998 do not address whether employers should provide time off in lieu of missed bank holidays, for part time workers.  However the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 protect part-time workers from being treated less favourably than their full-time counterparts, applying a pro rata principle. It is clear that part-time workers should, over the course of a year, receive the same holiday entitlement (whether public holidays or otherwise) as full time staff, subject to the pro rata principle.   Failure to permit this is a breach of the Regulations.   If a part time worker cannot “take” public holidays due to them falling on a non-working day, they must be given their pro rata entitlement at another time.

Example Calculations

If full-time staff work an average 5 days per week and if they are entitled to 8 paid bank/public holidays per year, a part-time worker working 3 days per week would be due 4.8 days’ in respect of bank holidays, alongside their pro rata entitlement to “general” annual leave.

The employer would then need to consider how many public holidays the worker actually benefited from (or “took”) i.e. those public holidays which fell on days the worker would otherwise have been working, and adjust that 4.8 days entitlement accordingly.  In other words, if the worker had only benefitted from 3 public holidays over the course of the holiday year, they would have an additional 1.8 days to take at a time of their choosing.  If however they had benefitted from 6 public holidays (i.e. 6 days fell on their usual working days) then their pro rata entitlement to “general” annual leave would need to be reduced accordingly. 

It will often be simpler to look at annual leave entitlement “in the round”.  For example, if a full time employee is due 30 days’ annual leave, including public holidays, and a part time worker is due 18 days, then this includes any bank holidays that fall on their working days.   To calculate the balance which the employee can take at a time of their choosing, simply deducts from the 18 days, the number of public holidays the employee “takes” (i.e. those which fall on working days).


There are various administrative approaches which can be adopted in order to manage bank holiday entitlement for part time workers but the principle is clear – part-time workers, whatever their normal days of work, must receive a pro rata entitlement to annual leave (including to bank/public holidays) compared to a full time worker. 

Managing bank holiday entitlement for part-time workers is crucial for compliance with The Working Time Regulations 1998 and the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000. By understanding the legal framework and implementing fair policies, employers can ensure that all employees receive fair and lawful annual leave entitlements.

If you have any questions on this topic do not hesitate to contact a member of BTO’s Employment team.

This update contains general information only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice.

Dawn Robertson, Partner & Accredited Specialist in Employment Law: dro@bto.co.uk / 0131 222 3242 / Connect with Dawn on LinkedIn

Kimberley Tochel, Trainee Solicitor: kto@bto.co.uk / 0141 221 8012 / Connect with Kimberley on LinkedIn