Working out holiday leave rights for part-time staff can seem tricky. And it feels even more difficult when it comes to bank holidays.

For example, flexible workers sometimes need to book a day off when it’s a bank holiday. Seem strange? Maybe, but it is actually fair! This should explain why.

Let’s take it step by step.

Bank holiday leave isn’t a right

First, there is no automatic or legal right for workers to have time off on bank holidays, or ‘public holidays’ to use their official name. This is the same for all workers, be they full or part-time.

Legally, all employers must give workers a minimum of 5.6 weeks (or 28 days) paid holiday every year. (They can give more if they chose to. Check your contract of employment to find out your holiday entitlement).

There are normally 8 public holidays in England and Wales each year. These can be counted as part of the 28 days, or employers can decide to add them to the 28 days.

For example:

Employer A includes bank holidays in the statutory 28 days annual leave for all workers.


Employer B adds bank holidays to the statutory 28 days – which means its workers get 8 extra days.

Fair holiday for part-time work

It could be considered unlawful for employers to give full-time employees more holiday pro-rata than their part-time colleagues.

(Pro rata means ‘in proportion’. In the context of holidays, it means the amount of holiday you’ve earned in proportion to the work you’ve done. Prorate means to ‘divide in proportion’.)

Defining full and part-time work

For simplicity, let’s assume:

  • A full-time employee works 35-hours over a 5 days a week
  • A part-time employee works less than 5 days a week

There are lots of other job types, including shift and rota work, casual work and term time work… to name a few! The number of hours worked in a week can vary too. However, the principles are the same.

Check your contract of employment to see what applies to you. You can also check  and a useful overview from ACAS

Calculating annual leave for part-timers

To work out the pro rata holiday for a part-time employee, multiply the number of days they work a week by 5.6 and round it up, never down.

Days worked

each week

Multiply by 5.6 Days leave,

rounded up

2 2 x 5.6 = 11.2 12
3 3 x 5.6 = 16.8 17
4 4 x 5.6 = 22.4 23


Adding bank holiday leave: Employer A

Let’s go back to Employer A, who includes bank holidays as part of the statutory 28 days annual leave.

Because bank holidays normally fall on a Monday or Friday, part-time employees here risk getting fewer days leave, pro rata, than their full-time colleagues. To ensure fairness, Employer A needs to give part-time workers a prorated bank holiday allowance. This would be based on hours, rather than days worked and if they include bank holidays.

Adding bank holiday leave: Employer B

Now, let’s look at Employer B, who adds bank holidays to the statutory 28 days annual leave.

Another calculation is needed to work out the hours of bank holiday leave for a part-time employee. This would be added to the holiday entitlement we calculated above.

  • As we said before, in our example, full-time means 35 hours per week. That’s 7 hours x 5 days.
  • There are 56 hours of bank holiday a year in England and Wales. That’s 7 hours x 8 days.


Part-time hours worked each week  ÷ 35 hours in a full-time week x 56 hours of bank holiday  = hours of bank holiday leave earned.

Here are some examples:

Days worked each week Hours worked each week ÷ by 35 hours working week x by 56 hours

of public/bank holiday

bank holiday leave (rounded up)
2 14 0.4 22.4 23 hours
3 21 0.6 33.6 34 hours
4 28 0.8 44.8 45 hours


Booking leave for a bank holiday?

Let’s consider Laura, a flexible worker for Employer B.  She does Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On August bank holiday Monday, the office is shut and she couldn’t go to work, even if she wanted to. (She doesn’t. She’s going to Venice for the weekend).

Laura has to book this day off as holiday, and it is deducted from her annual leave. You might think that’s unfair, ‘everybody gets bank holidays!’. But it isn’t at all.

Laura’s leave has been worked out pro rata, including the leave she is due for bank holidays. As she’s employed for 3 days a week, she gets

  • 17 days annual leave
  • 34 hours of bank holiday leave.


So, she gets paid leave in proportion to the hours she’s employed to work, just like her colleagues working 5 days a week.

Check your company policy

Your contract of employment should clearly show your employer’s policies for holiday entitlement and how bank holidays should be accounted for.

Please speak to your HR department or seek advice from a qualified source if you are unclear.

Check Bank holidays in the United Kingdom.


Disclaimer: While every care has been taken in compiling this blog, H48 Recruitment cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice.

Source – GOV.UK