How to Manage Public Holidays for Part-Time and Full-Time Employees in the UK

How to Manage Public Holidays for Part-Time and Full-Time Employees in the UK public holidays, bank holidays, part-time, full-time

How to calculate holidays entitlements is one of the most commonly asked questions in the world of HR, especially in todays business environment where the 9-5, Five day working week no longer applies to so many sectors of employment. 

In the UK if you work full-time you are entitled to 28 days holidays a year (which includes 8 public holidays)
Lets discuss this with some examples to make it easier to understand

• Works 40 hours a week
• Monday to Friday
• 9am - 5:30 (8 hours a day, 30 minute break is unpaid)
• Statutory annual leave = 20 Days (160 hours )
• Public holidays = 8 Days  ( 64 hours )
• Total = 28 days ( 224 hours )

Lisa's  40 hours a week entitles her to 28 holidays a year or 224 hours at 8 hours a day. 

For part time workers, holiday entitlements accrue on a pro-rata basis.
Lets take a few examples below:

• Works 20 hours per week
• Monday to Friday
• 9am - 2pm (4 hours a day)
• Statutory annual leave = 20 days (80 hours)
• Public Holidays = 8 days (32 hours)
• Total = 28 days (112 hours)

Tom works Monday to Friday from 9am to 2pm each day. He is entitled to the same number of days off as Lisa, the difference is that each of his working days represents 4 hours of paid work instead of 8 hours of paid work.


• Works 15 hours a week
• Monday Tuesdays and Wednesdays
• 9am – 12pm (3 hours a day)
• Statutory Annual Leave = 12 days (36 hours)
• Public Holidays = 5 (3/5 of the 8 public holidays)
• Total = 17 (51 hours)

Sarah works 3 days a week, so is entitled to 3/5 of her total statutory annual leave entitlement, this works out for her as 12 days annual leave a year. According to the UK government. She is also entitled to 3/5 of the 8 public holidays which works out as 5 days.

• Works a shift pattern, 7  12 hour shifts over a 2 week cycle (1 hour unpaid break per day)
• This works out as 79 hours paid work per 14 days, or 39 hours per week
• Statutory annual leave = 14 days  (154 hours)
• Public holidays =  6 (3.5 fifths of the 8 public holidays)
• Total = 20 days  (220 hours)

Ramesh gets fewer days than Lisa, but because his work day is longer, it works out as an equivalent pro-rata holiday entitlement.

There are many different configurations for how workers can accrue holiday entitlements. If you need to do a quick calculation, the UK government have provided this resource for you.

Annual leave can be separate from Public Holiday entitlements, or the company can incorporate them together as total statutory leave entitlement. How you manage this is up to you, but it is highly recommended that the employment contract species how leave is handled, and that your HR systems match what is included in the employment contract.

How can you deal with these different scenarios in HRLocker

Lets use Jane as our example,
Jane works fixed office hours on a standard working week. For her, the easiest solution might be to separate her annual leave from the public holidays. We can allocate her 20 days annual leave per year to request as she see's fit, and automatically book her public holidays as leave for her.

To do this we need to assign her to an office

1. Log on to HRLocker in as an Admin

2 Locate your employee on the directory and click view

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3. Here's your employee. She is located at the Head Office office. Next, we'll go to the settings for the Head office to set up annual leave for this office.

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4. As an admin, click on the Settings button on  the black ribbon at the top of the page

5. Now we click on the 'Offices' tab on the left-hand ribbon.

6. Find your office and click 'Settings'

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7. Click on 'Time OFF' This opens up the screen as shown below

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In the office settings we have the choice to import the public holidays as per the relevant country. If we do this, then all of the employees assigned to this office will have the public holidays automatically applied as holidays on in their annual leave request screen. 

This is great in most cases if the employee is working regular office hours and the office is likely to be closed on these days. However, sometimes it may be easier to not import the bank holidays for the office. If your employees work irregular or part time hours, or if employees are often expected to work on public holidays, it may be easier to calculate that employee's total annual leave entitlement including bank holidays on a pro rata basis, and input this number of days as the 'Annual Leave days per year'  for that Employee in their Summary Tab

2021-03-12 at 11.04.10Mandatory office holidays

We have seen how we can prevent public holidays from being recorded as mandatory holidays in the office settings. We can also do the opposite. If your office is closed or you need the staff to take some of their holidays on certain days each year you can add them as office holidays using the 'Office specific holidays' option shown above.

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But what if my employees are a mixture of different working arrangements?

HRLocker is a flexible platform. There can be multiple ways of achieving the same end point, you could consider creating separate virtual offices for the staff who do not work standard office hours and applying different public holiday rules for each office. Eg: 'Lahinch Admin' office which automatically gives all staff public holidays as paid time off, and 'Lahinch Surfing School' which gives each staff member their annual leave including public holidays which can all be booked as annual leave through the normal process.. 

There can be multiple offices for any location if you need more detailed control over things like approver access, working hours, timesheet requirements etc

At HRLocker you have a lot of flexibility in how you can manage annual leave and public holidays at both an individual employee level, and at an office level.
We can calculate annual leave in days and half days as standard calculations, or employers can create their own leave types which can facilitate employees who need to take partial days as holiday or other leave types. These can be adjusted manually to allow the employee flexibility while still meeting statutory entitlements.

We also have a Time off in Lieu Facility for employees who are sometimes required to work late and are entitled to take that time back on another day.

If after consulting this help document you are still unsure of what the best solution is for your particular organisation, we would like to set up a web call with you so we can show you the options you can use to make this as self-service as possible. 

The most important thing is that when you pick a way of dealing with this, you always round holiday entitlements up where necessary and enact and publish your policy on HR Docs.