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As a dad who works part time or is thinking about doing so, it can be hard to navigate annual leave allowances and bank holidays.
Holiday entitlement for a full-time worker is straightforward. They receive a set holiday allowance plus public holidays. But for a part time worker, allowances are calculated based on the days worked per week. Sometimes it’s calculated in hours, sometimes in days.
A working dad needs to manage their own annual leave to make sure they’re taking their full allocation. So it’s worth understanding how it’s calculated and what your rights are.
First, make sure that you’re getting the minimum statutory requirement. All employees are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid holiday per year. So, for someone who works five days a week, this equates to at least 28 days a year. This may or may not include bank holidays.
As a part-time worker, you also get 5.6 ‘weeks’ – but it’s based on your working week. So if you work three days a week, you will get 16.8 days of leave. To help you with this, the government website features a holiday entitlement calculator.
A lot of employers choose to offer an additional annual leave allowance as a perk for working there. In many cases the allowance goes up the longer you stay with a company.
It’s unlawful for a company to treat a full-time worker differently from someone who’s part time, so your annual leave entitlement should be calculated pro-rata. That is, your allowance is scaled down from the full-time rate based on the proportion of a full week that you work.
Put simply, if a full-time worker gets 30 days holidays excluding bank holidays, and you work 2.5 days a week, you get half that allowance – i.e. 15 days.
Bank holidays can be a sticking point for part-time working dads, because they may or may not fall on a day that you would normally be working. There’s no single formula to calculate how this works, but the approach should be detailed in your employers’ annual leave policy.
Some employers might give workers a paid day off if a public holiday falls on one of their working days, while those who would not usually work that day receive time off in lieu. This should produce a fair result if there’s a shift system in place, but if you have a rigid working pattern it can be unfair, as most bank holidays fall on a Monday.
So to remove that disadvantage, a common approach is to give all workers a pro rata entitlement, with any bank holidays that fall on your normal days of work having to be ‘booked’ from your holiday entitlement.
No employer can change your holiday leave entitlement without your consent and without consulting with you. If they do, then you potentially have a breach of contract claim. Also, you might have a case for ‘unlawful deduction of wages’ if the likely result of this is a change/reduction in pay.
If this is the situation, first question the HR department, but if you can’t get a resolution, seek legal advice.
In general, if you’re moving from full time work to part time, or want clarity about how things work, take a look at your employment contract. Most companies also publish their policies on an intranet. Feel free to speak to HR to gain clarification on anything – this is something they are very used to!