Tony Alford, who runs A&P Stores at Barrow-in-Furness, employs a lot of part-timers, as I am sure do many of you. He works out their pay in hourly terms. And when it comes to their holiday entitlement he just multiplies by four.
This is based on the rules as per the Working Time Regulations, which say full-time workers are entitled to 20 days holiday a year.
The maximum working week, according to the regs, is 48 hours spread over seven days. However, in 9-5 office-hour terms, the average working week is 40 hours spread over five days, which always made for a simple equation. Twenty days holiday is four working weeks off.
Pro rata then, if someone works 15 hours a week, they get (times four) 60 hours-worth of holidays.
Mind you, some of the official guff I've read on the pro-rata equations tackles this differently. "Where there is a normal entitlement of 20 days per year for employees working a full-time five-day week, a part-timer who works two days per week should receive two-fifths, ie eight days," said one source. (Same outcome as multiplying by four, you notice). But this is based on full days, not on shifts, which can be fractions of days.
So well and good, so long as the entitlement is 20 days. However, what happens when the entitlement goes up this October to 24 days - and next year to 28 days?
What's the new equation? Someone with a calculator told me it should all be based on hours and the factor you use is 0.107. So, someone working 15 hours a week will be entitled to 15 x 0.107 = 1.6 hours. Multiply by 52 (weeks) = 83.46 hours come 2008.