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I started a new job in December for a company that works in the UK Higher Education sector.

I was told I'd get 20 days annual leave plus bank holidays and closure days (another 14) giving me 34... Amazing!

Because I started 70 days into the new holiday entitlement period, HR have reduced my entitlement using a multiplier 70/365 = 0.19 and they have used this to reduce my combined entitlement to 27.5.

After this they've taken the 14 days for closure and bank holidays, leaving me with 13.5 days to take.

I have raised a query on this because:

I wouldn't have accrued 6.5 days holiday in 70 days - so how can I have lost that much?

If they'd taken off the 14 days first and then reduced my entitlement using the same multiplier I'd have only lost 3.8 days not 6.5.

In combining the entitlement, reducing it and then taking off the closure days I'm losing more than 14 days - it's more like 16.6

This method not only reduces my holiday entitlement by 19%, it also reduces all my bank holidays too.

(I understand some of this is the same point made in different ways!)

I can understand the shutdowns, but I've never worked anywhere that took bank holidays off you for starting later in the year. They aren't accrued by length of service so how can they be reduced in this way?

I've had a look at UK law and it says that a company can include bank holidays as part of your entitlement, but it isn't clear if they can take them away from you using a method like this.

A few of my colleagues have told me to query this because it doesn't seem right, but I'm getting no-where.

Do I have an argument to push this further, or should I leave it?

I'm still on probation and don't want to upset anyone.

  • Did you discuss the problem with the employer? What did they say? – virolino May 29 at 10:21
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    At the risk of asking a stupid question - if you are starting 70 days into a leave year have there not already been multiple bank holidays during that period? There's been 4 bank holidays in the last 70 days (Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day and Spring Bank Holiday) – motosubatsu May 29 at 10:25
  • Sorry yes, I have raised it, using the above points and they have said the calculation is correct and the way they do it for all staff. There are no bank holidays between October and Decemebr when I started/ – 964769 May 29 at 10:26
  • Ahh yes.. sorry I'd missed the "december" in your question so my comment doesn't apply in this case – motosubatsu May 29 at 10:26
  • @motosubatsu no its a good point. If I had started after Easter I'd have lost less of my entitlement. a) because the combined total would be less and b) they wouldn't be subtracting them from what's left (if that makes sense) – 964769 May 29 at 10:32
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While their method for calculating the effective accrual is.. well it's pretty shoddy. They are allowed to do it this way however - as long as you get your statutory entitlement, which in your case would be 22.7 days (since you started 70 days into a leave year) and they are giving you 27.5 so you are above the minimum.

Given this is essentially a one-time occurrence (you'll be unlikely to be joining partway through a leave period again unless you leave and rejoin or take a sabbatical or something) it's probably something to chalk up as a minor irritation and move past it. The overall entitlement is pretty good so if you're there for a few years it will even out in the end.

NB: the figure I gave above is based on you starting on 3rd of Dec 2018, the leave year starting exactly 70 days prior on 24th Sept 2018) and you working full time, 5 days a week.

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    Fair play, it is still a good package and above the legal minimum. This is the right answer because they haven't broken the law, so I should just leave it - pushing further will get me nowhere. The annoying thing for me was more the logic of adding something to the entitlement reducing it by a percentage then subtracting the original amount. Felt a bit underhand at worst, illogical at best – 964769 May 29 at 11:03
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    The proper way to calculate this is by determining how many work days have passed in the year out of how many available for that year, and taking that percentage off your holiday allowance. Work days may ( due to bank holidays ) not be what you expect. It is at best misleading to include bank holidays in the sum of holidays. You get them off, no need to count them other than determining work days. There will not be 14 70 days into the year. So yes, strange calculation. – bytepusher Jun 2 at 22:48
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They are completely off here. Bank holidays don't work that way. You don't get "8 days of bank holidays". Every bank holiday is on a fixed date that the company has no influence on. If you are employed at the date of the bank holiday, you get a holiday. If you are not employed at the date of the bank holiday, you don't get a holiday. Same with their closure days: If you are employed on these days, you get the day off, if you are not employed, you don't. These days are not pro-rated.

So you should get 20 days of holidays, with about 4 days subtracted pro rata, plus whatever closure days and bank holidays come in your way.

And just saying that the offer is not that generous. Every single company I worked for in the UK gave 23-25 days holiday plus bank holidays, so it's nice but not really "amazing". But the 22.7 days are actually quite rubbish. Whether it's out of stupidity or malice, I don't know.

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    Completely agree, bank holidays don't work that way was my primary argument. I know the offer isn't that generous the "amazing" comment was a little sarcastic knowing where it was going. Can you imagine thinking you're getting 34 days holiday and realizing you can only take 13 because the rest are closures and bank holidays. – 964769 May 30 at 8:22

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