The EAT has considered, in a case with slightly unusual facts, the difficult question of whether part-time employees who do not work on Mondays are entitled to a pro rata apportionment of extra time off in respect of Bank Holidays which always fall on a Monday.
Four of the UK's eight bank holidays always fall on Monday (Easter Monday, May Day, Spring Bank Holiday and August Bank Holiday). One is always on a Friday (Good Friday) and the other three vary. For some time, there has been debate about whether the Part Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulation 2000 prohibit an employer from allowing a full-time worker time off for Monday Bank Holidays, when part-timers who do not work Mondays do not receive time off.
The Claimant in this case worked Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The employer, Capita Business Services, operates seven days a week. The tribunal found that the part-time Claimant suffered a detriment compared with full-time workers, in that he did not receive the benefit of Monday bank holidays. However, it found the reason was not his status as a part-time worker, but simply because he did not work Mondays. Accordingly his claim was dismissed.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the tribunal's decision. It placed considerable emphasis on the fact that the Respondent operated a seven-day a week business, and that full-timers who worked five days a week excluding Mondays also did not receive time off for those Bank Holidays.
This decision provides some support for employers who do not give part-time workers additional pro rata time off in respect of bank holidays. However:
- it remains to be seen whether the same approach would be taken with a five-day (rather than seven-day) a week business, where ALL full timers receive the benefit of bank holidays;
- the case did not deal with justification (as it was not necessary to do so). It is strongly arguable that an employer would be justified in restricting the benefit of time off for Bank Holidays to people who actually work on those days, even if doing so has a detrimental impact on part-time workers.