Tuesday, 14 September 2021 17:20

Calculating Holiday

We’ve seen an increase in enquiries lately relating to holiday calculations and specifically, changes to holidays for existing staff part-way through the holiday year. This appears to have been brought about as current conditions have led to employees changing their working terms and therefore their contracts of employment.

We have seen a number of reductions in working days and hours as employees choose to cut their working week under flexible working requests. But equally we have also seen some increases in contracted hours as the current shortage of workers and the glut of job vacancies means that existing staff are asked to work more hours to cover vacancies that can’t be filled.

Either way, holidays are a statutory right and a change to contractual hours means a change to holiday entitlement.

It’s important to get the calculation right and we would usually default to the online .Gov holiday calculator when calculating holiday as, should there be any disagreements, it would be difficult to argue with what the Government have told you. However, the calculator doesn’t always have options for every scenario so sometimes it’s down to a manual calculation.

There are a couple of ways that we can describe statutory holiday entitlement in a contract of employment. Based on a full-time employee it could be either:

  • 20 days holiday plus 8 days public/bank holiday
  • 28 days (5.6 weeks) including public/bank holidays

Our preference is to use the latter option as more jobs these days, especially in hospitality and retail, include working on bank holidays and employees who are contracted to work them should be entitled to the equivalent time off in lieu. It also makes calculating part-time workers’ holiday much easier.

For part-time workers, holiday should be determined using a pro rata calculation based on the full time equivalent hours of an employee; but it doesn’t have to get terribly complicated.

For example, a part time worker, or someone who is reducing their hours from 5 days per week to 3 days, simply has their holiday adjusted by 40% or two fifths. So, someone who would normally be entitled to 28 days including bank holidays, would get 16.8 days which we would round up to 17 days.

For an employee who works part time hours but for five days per week, it’s even easier to calculate as they would still be awarded 28 days holiday. This is because for any day they take off they will only effectively be taking holiday for the time they would usually work. In other words, for someone who works 9.00am to 2.00pm Monday to Friday, any days holiday they take will effectively be for those hours; so one day’s holiday is still only 9.00am to 2.00pm.

Obviously, it’s going to get more complicated if an employee works different hours on different days but the principle is still the same.

Don’t forget that if you give holiday above statutory, you need to add these days in and calculate in the same way and when the calculation produces a fraction of a day you should always round up.

Finally, just to throw a spanner in the works, next year, 2022 will be the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and an extra public holiday has been declared. The May Bank Holiday will be moved to Thursday 2 June and an additional Bank Holiday will be added on Friday 3 June to give a four-day weekend.

For help on individual holiday calculations, you can call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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