What happens for part timers if you add in an extra day off for full timers?

Calculating holiday for part timers seems to cause challenges frequently, and once you factor in bank holidays, it’s even worse. But assuming you’ve worked out your part timers’ holiday in a normal year, what do you do if the holiday entitlement for full timers changes, such as additional bank holidays being added?

This happened last year for many employers, due to the extra Jubilee bank holiday, and the Queen’s funeral, and is happening again this year with the coronation, but it can also happen at times like Christmas, when many employers make a decision to close on days around the festive period, either at lunchtime or completely for the day.

Part timers are of course entitled to paid leave on a pro rata basis the same as full timers, so if you give extra days off to full timers, you do need to work out what to do with your part timers.

Saying “they don’t work on a Friday so if we shut down that day they are just unaffected” won’t work – they’d be getting less paid leave so would be being treated less favourably than their full time colleagues. Just as bank holidays need to be factored in on a pro rata basis for part timers even if they don’t work on a Monday.

Calling it a “shutdown” rather than holiday won’t work either. They are still being treated less favourably on a pro rata basis, and relabelling the paid time off doesn’t negate that. The Part Timer Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations are concerned with the realities of how part timers are being treated compared to full timers in practice, so labelling things differently won’t remove risk.

Less favourable treatment of part timers is unlawful unless it can be objectively justified. However, giving part timers extra paid time off on a pro rata basis isn’t difficult so using that defence is unlikely to work.

But the good news is you don’t need to tie yourself in knots calculating percentages of a single extra day. Instead, just recalculate the part timer’s annual entitlement entirely. For example, if you normally offer 28 days a year to full timers, but are closing for an extra couple of days at Christmas this year as well, simply recalculate the part timers pro rata entitlement for this year based on 30 days rather than 28.

Doing it that way is much easier, can be clearly explained, and cannot attract any accusations of unfairness as it is clearly pro rata.

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