Suppose somebody pays pro rata every three weeks.

I understand that if they cut short during that period, "pro rata" means the amount is recalculated according to how many days they use and only goes up till when they stopped.

Suppose a company like a phone company takes into consideration if somebody's phone has been inactive for 7 days within a 3 week period. So within that three week period, there were 7 days, before which, they had their phone active. After which they had it active. But during which, they didn't. And the company is fine for refunding for that 7 day inactive phone period.

Would the term pro rata also apply to if the company deducted 7 days of charges from the cost of the three week paying period?

Or does the term pro rata only apply to contiguous/consecutive days between the point of stopping, and the end of the (in this case 3 week) paying period?

this is not a question about company policy, as company policy is to refund for the 7 days the phone was inactive. This is a question of whether the term "pro rata" applies to that.

though on a related note, if the company didn't refund for the 7 days the phone was inactive, would they still be able to say it was pro rata?

  • Everything is governed by what goes before the 'pro-rata' part. Nothing can be said by the expression pro-rata alone.
    – Kris
    Dec 13, 2013 at 14:13
  • en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pro_rata From Latin pro (“according to”) + ratus (“calculated”) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro_rata Pro rata is an adverb or adjective, meaning in proportion The term is used in many legal and economic contexts. It is sometimes spelled pro-rata, but this is technically a misspelling of the Latin phrase [that it is derived from.] In North American English this term has been vernacularized to prorated.
    – barlop
    Dec 13, 2013 at 22:56
  • from yahoo answers "For example if I had worked 6 months and got 4 weeks paid holiday a year I would have got 2 weeks holiday pro-rata." and "for example if you work on 34 weeks of the year at a school/ college etc you dont get paid the just divide your 34 weeks salary into 52 weeks of the year. so you end up with [less a week]" <-- so yes it could be anywhere in the year
    – barlop
    Dec 13, 2013 at 23:07

2 Answers 2


The term pro rata just means proportionally.

It is derived from the longer Latin phrase pro rata parte meaning according to the calculated share.

In US usage, the term can be used for any adjustment that divides an amount or an obligation into parts, usually an equal allocation among people or categories. How the proportions are calculated and whether a given person or category is part of the calculation is not standardized and depends on the rules or conditions set up by the dividing party.

An organization can give you a pro rata credit for any day a service is not used, wherever it falls. Or it could give you a pro rata credit only for the remaining period in an agreement following an early termination. Or it could give you a credit for any minute that occurred any time within the period where service was unsatisfatory. It simply depends on the terms of the relationship.

In short, pro rata just means for an evenly calculated part, regardless of where or when it occurs.


Pro rata is used simply to mean 'at the rate of'.

So yes, if a company has a monthly charge of £15 pro rata, and you use half a month of their services, you would pay £7.50. What they accept as 'half a month' would be a business decision rather than an English one, as you say above — whether that's the first half/second half or any 15 days.

The granularity would also come down to their contract — e.g. in a part-time job, if they said that you will get paid £20,000 pro rata, they may decide that this will be based on days worked or on hours worked. The company above may say any partial usage in a week, counts as a week, etc.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.