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Guide to Calculating Holidays for Part-Time Workers

Practical help to navigate the complexities of holiday entitlements

Darryl Horn, Thursday, 28 March 2024 • 6 min read

As we approach late March, HR managers often find themselves immersed in the task of calculating holiday entitlements for part-time workers.

This time of year marks the beginning of many company holiday years, which typically commence in April. For HR professionals, ensuring accurate and fair holiday calculations for part-time employees is paramount, especially considering the diverse range of work schedules they may follow. Whether it's workers with reduced hours each day, those working full days irregularly, or those on rotating shifts, the process demands precision and attention to detail to uphold both legal requirements and employee satisfaction. This guide aims to provide clarity on how to navigate these calculations effectively during this crucial period.

Part-time employment is a common arrangement in many industries, offering flexibility to both employees and employers. However, calculating holidays for part-time workers can be complex, especially when dealing with varying work schedules. Whether they work reduced hours each day, full days on certain days, or follow a rotating schedule, it's crucial for employers to ensure that part-time workers receive their entitled holiday allowance fairly and accurately. This guide aims to provide clarity on how to calculate holidays for part-time workers in various scenarios.

Understanding Holiday Entitlement

Before delving into calculations, it's essential to understand holiday entitlement. In the UK, statutory holiday entitlement for full-time workers is usually 28 days, including bank holidays. However, this can vary depending on the employment contract.

Part-time workers are entitled to a pro-rata amount based on their contracted hours.

Calculating Holidays for Part-Time Workers with Reduced Daily Hours

For part-time employees who work reduced hours each day, calculating holidays is relatively straightforward. The entitlement is usually calculated based on the number of hours worked per week. Here's a step-by-step approach:

  1. Determine the total annual holiday entitlement in hours (e.g., 28 days x standard daily hours).

  2. Calculate the proportion of hours worked by the part-time employee compared to a full-time employee.

  3. Multiply the total annual holiday entitlement by this proportion to find the part-time worker's holiday entitlement.

For example, if a full-time employee works 8 hours per day, but a part-time employee only works 4 hours per day, their holiday entitlement would be half of the full-time entitlement.

Calculating Holidays for Part-Time Workers with Irregular Workdays

Some part-time workers may work full days but not on fixed days each week. In this scenario, it's essential to establish an average weekly working pattern over a representative period, usually 12 weeks. Here's how to calculate their holiday entitlement, including pro-rating public holidays:

  1. Calculate the average number of hours worked per week over the representative period.

  2. Apply the same method as above to determine the pro-rata holiday entitlement based on the average weekly hours worked.

  3. Pro-rate the entitlement for public holidays. If a part-time worker does not work on public holidays, their entitlement should be adjusted accordingly.

  4. Add the pro-rated public holiday entitlement to the overall holiday entitlement.

  5. Ensure that any public holidays that fall on days the part-time worker is contracted to work are accounted for. These days should be removed from the overall entitlement.

For example, if a part-time worker is entitled to 8 public holidays per year, but their standard working days do not include two of these holidays, those two days should be subtracted from their overall entitlement. If they work 4 days a week on average, and one of the public holidays falls on a day they would typically work, then only 7 out of the 8 public holidays would be included in their overall entitlement.

This approach ensures that part-time workers receive a fair holiday entitlement that considers both their regular work schedule and public holiday entitlement, in line with employment regulations. Transparent communication of these calculations is essential to avoid any confusion or disputes regarding holiday entitlement.

Calculating Holidays for Part-Time Workers on Rotating Shifts

Part-time workers on rotating shifts present a unique challenge due to the variability of their schedules. To calculate their holiday entitlement:

  1. Determine the average number of hours worked per week over the representative period.

  2. If the shifts vary significantly, consider using a reference period that reflects a typical work cycle.

  3. Apply the pro-rata calculation based on the average weekly hours worked to determine holiday entitlement.

It's essential to review and adjust holiday entitlement periodically to account for changes in the work schedule.

Communicating Holiday Entitlement

Once you've calculated the holiday entitlement for part-time workers, clearly communicate this information to them. Ensure they understand how their entitlement was calculated and when they can take their holidays. Transparency fosters trust and avoids misunderstandings.


Calculating holidays for part-time workers requires careful consideration of their unique work patterns. By understanding their entitlement and applying pro-rata calculations accurately, employers can ensure fairness and compliance with employment regulations. Clear communication of holiday entitlement is vital to maintaining positive employee relations and fostering a productive work environment.

Guide to Calculating Holidays for Part-Time Workers
#HolidayEntitlement #PartTimeWorkers #HRManagement #FairEmployment #WorkLifeBalance #EmployeeBenefits #FlexibleWork #HRGuidance #CompanyPolicies #AnnualLeave
This article was first published on 28/3/24.

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About the author


Darryl is a Chartered CIPD Member, business leader and operational manager with 30 years experience in on-the-ground and strategic HR, specialising in Human Resources Management, Employment Law, Employee Relations and Learning & Development.

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