Treatment of public holidays for part-time workers

(18 Posts)
potentialenergy Sat 16-Apr-16 19:35:47

I work Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and I'm hoping someone with knowledge of HR law can advise me about the treatment of public holidays (the majority of which fall on Mondays and Fridays).

When I asked my new employer about their policy a junior HR staff member responded: "At present if you are part time and your work pattern does not fall on a Monday, then you are not paid for the bank holiday. So if you work Tues – Thu, and therefore not on a Monday, you don’t get paid for the Monday when a bank holiday comes around."

I was a bit confused by this, and there was no explanation in the HR policy documents, so I queried it further.

I explained that a common approach (used by my two previous employers) is to give part-time workers a pro-rata entitlement of days off in lieu of public holidays according to the number of hours they work, to ensure that full-time and part-time employees are treated equally (there's an explanation here if it helps to illustrate what I mean: www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/pro-rata-bank-holidays-ask-the-expert/). So if a full time employee gets 30 days AL + 8 days PH, then a 0.5FTE employee would get 15 days AL + 4 days PH allowance. If they normally worked on Mondays then they could use the PH allowance for the Bank Holiday itself, but if not then they could use it on a lieu day instead.

However, a more senior HR manager replied to this as follows:

"Your entitlement to be absent from work on a paid basis on a public holiday stems from a requirement ordinarily to be present on that day. In the absence of the requirement, there is no entitlement and therefore no pro-rata equivalent.

The Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 provide that part-time staff are not treated less favourably than comparable full-timers in their terms and conditions, including an entitlement tothe same hourly rate of pay, the same access to company pension schemes, the same entitlements to annual leave and maternity/parental leave on a pro rata basis, the same entitlement to contractual sick pay, and no less favourable treatment in access to training unless different treatment can be objectively justified and for this purpose, a part-timer has to be compared to an equivalent full-timer.

We do not operate a solely standard Monday - Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm working hours arrangement, as many other employers might. At any time, staff may work a variety of patterns ... The comparison to be made in your case would therefore be to a full-time member of staff working on days other than Monday each week (e.g. Wednesday to Sunday working or Tuesday to Saturday working). Such an individual would equally not receive a pro-rata or other allocation of leave in relation to public holidays falling on Mondays. Equally, that individual does not suffer a detriment since attendance and pay are unaffected.

Conversely a part-timer doing the same hours as you but over a Monday-Friday working week would be on paid leave on all public holidays falling on those days.

Thus the reason for your not receiving a pro-rata or other allocation of time off equivalent to public holidays falling on non-working days, is in relation to these not being working days and not in relation to your being part-time. There is, therefore, no pro-rata allocation nor unequal treatment."

Does this explanation sound reasonable/legal? The employer is a university, hence the non-standard hours worked by some employees (security, library etc), but I work in an administrative department where everybody does work standard hours. My previous employer was a university too, and they did give me a pro-rata entitlement.

NeatandTidyTidyandNeat Sat 16-Apr-16 19:51:36

Hmm, what does your contract say? For example, past public and private sector contracts I've had have specified a leave entitlement of "X days per year plus X statutory bank holidays". In which case, when part-time, as you describe in your first example, HR would take pro-rate the combined total of annual leave days and stat hols. In the NHS, as people had unusual working patterns what with operating a 24/7 workplace, the holiday entitlement would often be expressed as hours rather than days, for part-time workers.

I can see what your employer is trying to claim in their long description (that there is no expectation of paid stat hols because they are not deemed to be usual working days in your worked pattern) but if your contract says they're included, then I would go back and politely say they're wrong smile

If your contract doesn't say you're entitled to them, but instead says "X days" (and X is more than the stat minimum which I think is 20 inc bank hols) then er, ask to switch working days to include Mondays?!

potentialenergy Sat 16-Apr-16 21:27:52

The Offer of Employment, which I accepted, says "Your hours of work will be X hours per week to be worked as agreed by your line manager...... Annual Leave: You are entitled to Y hours which is pro-rata of the full time entitlement of Z hours holiday in each leave year."

The Terms & Conditions for the offer say "The employee's normal working hours are specified in the offer letter. Employees may be required to work such further hour as may be necessary for the proper performance of their duties. Further details regarding the hours of work can be found on the university's website."

The relevant page of the website says: "Full time members of staff ... work 35 hours per week normally five seven hour days, Mondays to Fridays, with a one-hour unpaid break for lunch. For details on your normal hours of work refer to your offer of employment letter or subsequent written notification from your line manager or Human Resources agreeing your hours."

... which perhaps contradicts what the HR manager said about there not being a standard working week.

The Terms & Conditions also say "Full time employees are entitled to 30 working days paid holiday in each leave year plus such bank and other public holidays as are observed by the university. ...... For part-time staff, annual leave entitlement .. will be calculated pro-rata to the full time equivalent." But it doesn't say that the public holidays will be calculated pro-rata too.

lougle Sat 16-Apr-16 21:56:05

HR are wrong. If full time staff are given paid leave for bank holidays, so should part time staff. Part time staff are paid pro-rata, as is their annual leave.

caroldecker Sat 16-Apr-16 21:59:33

The question is:

Is z in your first bit 140 hours (30 days) or 182.5 (30 days plus 8). If it is 182.5 then HR are wrong, if the first then there appears to be a discrepancy between the contract and the T&C.

caroldecker Sat 16-Apr-16 22:00:52

sorry, 210 and 252.5. Would also add that 30 days is a lot of holiday, and 38 is taking the piss.

NickMarlow Sat 16-Apr-16 22:02:39

I work for a church, so we can have bank holidays added onto our annual leave and take them at a different time (they're mostly on days we need to be at work!). Since going part time, I get my annual in hours rather than days. I get pro rata time for bank holidays, even though I don't work on Mondays. A colleague with 2 part time jobs gets half the bank holiday allowance from each job. You should definitely be entitled to some bank holiday allowance!

G1raffe Sat 16-Apr-16 22:04:18

What jobs have 30/38 days holiday?...

potentialenergy Sat 16-Apr-16 22:40:15

Z = 210 hours (30 days x 7 hours)

potentialenergy Sat 16-Apr-16 22:45:06

I should also add that they said they would be reviewing the policy, implying that they thought they might not be on solid ground, but that was almost a year ago and they haven't got round to doing that yet.

flowery Sat 16-Apr-16 23:19:16

Bank holidays are no different from other paid holiday. You are entitled to the same amount of paid leave on a pro rata basis as a full timer. How much (if any) of that paid leave occurs on bank holidays is entirely irrelevant.

Look at the total amount of paid time off you're getting and the total a full timer is getting and if it's not the correct pro rata amount you are being treated less favourably because of your part time status.

ElinoristhenewEnid Sun 17-Apr-16 13:46:02

G1raffe my dd and ds work in NHS and under agenda for change start on 27+8 days holidays after 5 years service 29+8 days after 10 years service 31+8 days, after 15 years are entitled to 33+8 days holidays so 30+8 does not sound unreasonable!

G1raffe Sun 17-Apr-16 14:15:09

Wow! Beats 4 weeks.

caroldecker Sun 17-Apr-16 15:19:40

elinoris Average public sector is 27+8, average private sector is 25+8. So basically an extra week, or 2% pay increase.

HermioneWeasley Sun 17-Apr-16 16:13:54

If there are people working full time over the same days who are also not getting bank hols (which is what they seem to be arguing) , then I don't think you are being treated less favourably. I would think it's very unlikely though.

CountryLovingGirl Mon 18-Apr-16 13:49:19

Entitlement to bank holidays should be pro rata and added to annual leave at the beginning of each financial year (or Jan-Jan, if they do it like that).
HR are wrong! You are entitled to a pro rata share of the bank holidays.
I work for the NHS so days can be all over the place but we all get our fair share of bank holidays added to our leave at the start of each year. We, usually, have the bank holidays we will be off taken off straight away if you aren't working them.
It is against the law to treat a part timer in such a way that they would be at a disadvantage - as is clear with this case.
Are you in a union?

potentialenergy Mon 18-Apr-16 14:12:25

Thanks Country. I'm not in a union, but that won't stop me challenging it. Now that I've been there a few months I'll pick up the baton again - the "review" HR said they would carry out just needs to be escalated up their priority list. I've found lots of examples of other University Leave policies which assign pro-rata public holiday so that should help.

Millionprammiles Mon 18-Apr-16 14:12:27

OP - That's how part-time bank hol entitlement is treated by my employer (v large public sector).
If a bank hol falls on what is normally a non-working day then there is no day in lieu.
In practice what people often do is swap their non-working day for a different day in those weeks where the bank hol falls on their usual non-working day. There's no policy preventing it (yet..).

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