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The University of Southampton
Human Resources

Holiday entitlement: moving from days to hours


From 1 October 2020, the University will introduce a single holiday booking scheme, where all employees will have their holiday entitlement in hours.

Below you will find information on what is changing, why we are doing this and what you need to be aware of.

What’s changing

Previously, employees booked their holidays in either hours or days, depending on their type of contract.  With the increase in flexible working practices and employees moving between roles, it’s become increasingly necessary to make manual adjustments to people’s holiday records. Using a single measure of entitlement will help reduce manual intervention and ensure fairness and accuracy.

The differences for those transitioning from days to hours are:

1.       Entitlement will now consist of contractual holiday and an amount of Bank Holidays and University Closure Days

2.       You are now able to book in increments of 15 minutes, not just days and half days.

Bank holidays and University Closure Days which fall on a working day will now be pre-booked for staff (this is new for staff who already had a holiday entitlement in hours).  This ensures you do not need to book them, and line managers don’t need to authorise them. The remaining holiday entitlement is for you to take as you wish, subject to manager approval. 

How your holiday entitlement is calculated

The table below shows the overall holiday entitlements (ie including the entitlement to Bank Holidays and University Closure Days) by level and length of service for a full time member of staff. Part-time staff receive a pro-rated amount based on their FTE.

As Level 1-2 staff work a 36 hour working week, Level 3 staff work a 35 hour working week and Level 4+ staff have a 35 hour nominal working week, the full time equivalent holiday entitlements in hours are as follows:

LevelEntryAfter 1 yearAfter 2 yearsAfter 3 yearsAfter 4 years
Levels 1-2

34 days x 7.2 hours =

244.8 hours

35 days x 7.2 hours =

252 hours 

36 days x 7.2 hours =

259.2 hours 

37 days x 7.2 hours =

266.4 hours 

38 days x 7.2 hours =

273.6 hours 

Level 3

34 days x 7 hours = 

238.0 hours

35 days x 7 hours =

245 hours

36 days x 7 hours =

252 hours

37 days x 7 hours =

259 hours 

38 days x 7 hours =

266 hours 

Levels 4-7

44 days x 7 hours =

308.0 hours

Why we are doing this

Flexibility: You can now book holiday in 15 minute slots, giving you greater flexibility when you require it, without needing to use a half or a whole day of holiday.

Accuracy: Holiday entitlement will be calculated precisely, according to the employee’s contract and will be rounded up to the nearest 0.1 of an hour to ensure that no one loses out.

Accrual of additional holiday with service (Levels 1-3): The new system will provide an accurate calculation based on the date when you started employment with the University, any additional holiday entitlement will be applied.

Equality: This change means there will be consistent treatment of holiday for all staff, regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time or work flexibly.

Using ‘days’ as a basis for entitlement only works if everybody works the same number of hours each day, with no alteration.  With an increase in part-time and flexible working, this is becoming less common. An hours-based scheme will increase accuracy, ensuring that whatever the hours an employee would have worked on a particular day is the time deducted for the holiday.

See the articles 'Why is the University moving everyone to hours for booking holiday?' and 'What are the benefits of moving to hours?' for more information.

What you need to be aware of

Booking holiday

For staff who already book in hours, they won’t notice any change in their entitlement or the way they book holiday. 

For full-time staff, there is one very slight change and that is in the way part days are booked. When you choose Part Day, the system requires you to advise the time your holiday starts and how many hours you are taking as holiday on that part day. This will then be deducted from your entitlement.

If you book a whole day the system will automatically deduct the correct amount of time from your entitlement.

The advantage for full-time staff now is that they will be able to book holiday in fractions of a days, down to 0.25 of an hour (15 minute blocks) rather than be limited half or full days.

For a more detailed explanation please see the article 'I used to book in days, will the way I book a holiday change now my entitlement is in hours?'.

Deducting your entitlement when you book holiday

The system knows how much time to deduct for a holiday you have booked based on the work pattern recorded on the HR and Payroll system. Therefore, it is very important that your work pattern is correct.

You can see details of your work pattern in MyHR Dashboard: 

1.       Click on the Account button by your name in the top right-hand corner of your dashboard;

2.       View the work pattern by clicking on the downward arrow next to “Appointment History” (this will show you the details of your main post).

If it’s incorrect or you are not sure, then speak to your line manager at the earliest opportunity.  It can be corrected by raising a Change to Working Hours or Pattern request on ServiceNow.

Bank holidays and University Closure Days

From 1 October 2020, the overall holiday entitlement for all staff comprises of two parts, your holiday entitlement and your entitlement to Bank Holidays and University Closure Days.  Combined, this is your “entitlement to paid time off work”. Both amounts are prorated for staff who work less than full time to ensure that everyone has the current entitlement, no matter what their hours and working pattern are.

Before the new holiday year, any bank holiday or closure days that fall on your work pattern will be booked on your behalf by HR.  This will mean you and your manager do not need to worry about booking and authorising these.

Doing this ensures that no matter what an employee’s work pattern is, everyone receives the correct entitlement to paid time away from work.  Without the combined entitlement, those who have a working day that falls on one of these holidays could be unfairly advantaged compared to someone whose working days do not.

If you don’t normally work on that day, you retain the entitlement to take time off at a later date. You are therefore afforded the same amount of paid time off as other people who work the same number of hours as you but may have a different work pattern.

This is not a change but makes it transparent for everyone from 1 October 2020.

Working on a Bank Holiday or University Closure Day

If, with the prior agreement of your line manager, you work on a Bank Holiday or University Closure Day that is a normal working day for you, then this booking needs to stay on the system (it will be automatically re-added if removed).

You may be entitled to compensation for working on the holiday, based on your contract or University policy. Any time off in lieu owing should be arranged outside of the system with your line manager. Please liaise with your line manager or speak to Ask HR to clarify your entitlements.

Sick on a Bank Holiday or University Closure Day

If you are sick on a Bank Holiday or University Closure Day and it was a normal working day for you, you should delete the holiday booking so you can book a sickness absence on the day(s) instead. 

Where you've been sick, you're entitled to have any Bank Holidays credited back to your entitlement as these form part of your statutory entitlement, but not the University Closure Days since these are discretionary and on fixed dates when the University is closed.  Changing the absence type on these days to sickness effectively credits the days back to your holiday entitlement, so if you were sick on a University Closure Day and it was on a normal working day for you, HR will automatically adjust your holiday entitlement to deduct the time for the University Closure Day.

Moving to a new post

When a post transfer is processed, all future bookings will be removed from your HR record. You will be advised by HR when you can re-book all holiday against your new post (in most cases this will be on the day the new post starts).

Every month HR will identify all bank holidays and closure days that have not been booked against your record and work pattern and automatically add them. This process will occur at the same time payroll is run, generally 3 or 4 days before each monthly payday.

Changing your days/hours of work

When a new work pattern is processed, all future leave will be removed from your HR record. This is to ensure that the holiday booked reflects your  new work pattern.

For example, if you previously booked Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday off work, but before the holiday is taken you had changed work pattern to Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, your existing booking would likely be incorrect. The system is unable to determine your intentions for that week so it is important that you re-book your holiday with your new work pattern in mind.

Every month HR will identify all bank holidays and closure days that have not been booked against your record and work pattern and automatically add them. This process will occur at the same time payroll is run, generally 3 or 4 days before each monthly payday.

Holiday already booked in the new leave year

When the HR system is updated with the hourly-based entitlements all holidays which are booked on or after 1 October will be converted to hours for you.

Carry over holiday

Subject to the standard approval criteria this will be converted into hours and added to your 2020/21 entitlement.

Booking half days of holiday

When booking in hours there is no option to book half a day.  You can either book a whole day or book the number of hours you wish to take off. If you would like to book an equivalent of a half day you can book the number of hours, in 15-minute increments, which is most relevant to half of your working day.

Delegation rules for authorising holiday

Changing holiday entitlement to hours does not affect any existing delegation rules. The only time you would have to change a delegation rule is if you or the person you are delegating to moves to a new post.

Residual time which can’t be booked off

Some staff might find that they get to the end of the holiday year in 2021 and have a residual amount of holiday entitlement that they can’t book as it’s less than the smallest bookable increment (15 mins or 0.25 of an hour). In these cases the staff member should arrange with their line manager to book this time off outside of MyHR Dashboard.

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