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Calculating Annual Leave for Part Time / Non-Standard Working Arrangements

Many of us will be dreaming of holidays and a return to normality in 2021, but one headache that may remain for managers is how to calculate annual leave for part-time staff and staff that work non-standard hours.

Many companies will find more staff on these contracts as greater flexibility is needed in employment contracts as organisations require extra flexibility while recovering from the impacts of Coronavirus (Covid 19). Equally, such contracts are often attractive to both existing and new recruits as attraction and retention tools as employees strive to achieve their preferred work-life balance.

We are here to take the pain away and to provide some straightforward guidance on how to navigate these scenarios. Please remember that providing staff to meet the required eligibility criteria, all staff have the legal right to request flexible working. If you need further advice or HR support on how to deal with flexible working requests, or how to use flexible working as an attraction tool in recruitment please don’t hesitate to contact us. Alternatively, further details can be obtained via our blog titled ‘Better Break than Bend’


Annual leave for part-time staff should be calculated as follows:

The most accurate and simplest way is to calculate any non-standard or part-time annual leave and bank holiday entitlement is to work it out in hours.

  • ‘Employee X’ is contracted 20 hours per week; full-time employees work 37.5 hours per week.
  • All employees at this organisation are entitled to 28 days (5.6 weeks) leave per year (pro-rata for part-time staff and inclusive of bank holidays).
  • The entitlement for ‘Employee X’ would be calculated as follows:
    • A full-time employee (37.5 hours would have 210 hours leave per year (37.5 hours/5 = 7.5 hour a day x 28 days leave = 210 hours)
    • ‘Employee X’  who is part-time (20 hours) would receive 112 hours leave (210 hours/37.5 x 20 hours = 112 hours)
    • Both the full-time employee (37.5 hours) and ‘Employee X’ (part-time: 20 hours) have the same proportion of leave e.g. 210 hours (full-time employee)/37.5 (contracted hours) = 5.6 weeks leave vs 112 hours (part-time employee)/20 (contracted hours) = 5.6 weeks leave
    • When leave is calculated in hours, an employee deducts the actual hours they would have worked on the day that they take off; this also applies to a bank holiday that would have been a normal working day but is not worked. If an employee takes an entire week off they deduct their weekly contracted hours from the total entitlement


The bank holidays in 2021 are as follows:


1 January


New Year’s Day

2 April


Good Friday

5 April


Easter Monday

3 May


Early May bank holiday

31 May


Spring bank holiday

30 August


Summer bank holiday

27 December


Christmas Day (substitute day)

28 December


Boxing Day (substitute day)


If you are looking further ahead, please note that the government has announced an Extra Bank Holiday to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. The extent to which you will have to offer this to staff will depend on the wording of their employment contract.

If in doubt, check the contracts and communicate with staff in good time to prevent any misunderstandings about entitlements.

It may be that different employees within one organisation will have different contract terms and this is something that you will need to consider. It would be advisable that any policy in respect to the additional day be applied consistently across the organisation wherever possible


What if an employee starts ‘part way’ into the annual leave year?

In the first year of service, annual leave will be pro-rated.


What if I need more help?

Managers can often find this calculation confusing, so if you need any further HR help please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help with any of the following:

* While we support many companies in the southwest (Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Somerset, Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire to name but a few), we also provide remote HR advice and support to companies across the UK. In response to increased levels of home/remote working, we can offer ALL of our services remotely.



Get in touch for an informal, free no-obligation chat about how we can help: send us an email or give us a call


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