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What does the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee extra bank holiday mean for employees? Are they entitled to the extra bank holiday?

Employment Law, For Employees, For Employers
Deyontae James

What does the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee extra bank holiday mean for employees? Are they entitled to the extra bank holiday?

This year for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the UK will have an additional bank holiday! But what does that mean for employees (including workers)? Does it mean that all employees are entitled to take the additional bank holiday as annual leave?

Now would be a good time to check employee contracts if you haven’t already, and provide clarity for any workers.

Ultimately, there is no statutory right for employees to take bank holidays as annual leave. Statute gives us guidance on the minimum amount of holiday an employer is legally obliged to offer, but the contract of employment is what governs holiday entitlement (subject to the statutory minimum) and when/ how holiday is to be taken. To determine whether an employee is entitled to take the Jubilee bank holiday as part of their holiday entitlement, an employer should turn to the relevant contract of employment and check if there is a clause which sets out whether the employee in question is eligible for paid time off for the forthcoming bank holiday.

Common clauses dealing with bank holiday and annual leave:

  • If the contract states that the employee is entitled to “X days plus bank holidays” this would suggest that the employee is entitled to take the additional holiday as leave.
  • If however the contract states that the employee is entitled to “X days off plus the usual bank holidays”, this would suggest that the employee would not be entitled to take the additional holiday as leave, as the Jubilee bank holiday is not a “usual” bank holiday.

 

Other points to consider:

 

You need your employees to work the bank holiday but they are contractually entitled to have the day off as annual leave: For many industries, bank holidays are their busiest days and are very much working days. If you operate in such an industry your contract should not entitle staff member (whom you need to work on a bank holiday) to take bank holidays as annual leave. If your contracts do so but you require an employee to work on a bank holiday, you can ask the employee whether they are willing to work on a bank holiday however, given the relevant term of the contract, the employee has the contractual right to say no (relying on the contractual right to have bank holidays off as part of their holiday entitlement). Often, employers can persuade employees to work a day on which an employee is contractually entitled to have off as leave by offering enhanced remuneration and enhanced time off in lieu.  So even where an employee’s contract states that they are entitled to the additional bank holiday off, employers may, through agreement, get an employee to work on that day. If an employee is required to work on a day which they are contractually entitled to take as annual leave, an employer should offer the employee a day in lieu (to be taken at another time).

Pay when working on bank holiday: Pay on bank holiday is governed by the contract of employment. if an employee’s contract entitles them to the additional bank holiday off on June 3rd but the employee has been asked and agrees to work, an employer should check the employee’s contract of employment to identify whether an additional rate of pay applies. If no such terms are in place, the employee can be paid at their normal salary/rate of pay – unless agreed otherwise.

You are closed on the Jubilee bank holiday but your employees are not entitled to the bank holiday off under their contract of employment: for those employers who intend to close on June 3rd but your employees are not entitled to the additional bank holiday, you could inform employees that they are required to take the additional bank holiday as part of their contractual holiday entitlement. Employers have the right to require employees to take holidays at specified periods, provided the contract sets out when those periods are and, if not, provided the employer serves double the length of notice as to the period of leave that is required to be taken (unless the contract stipulates otherwise). Such notice should stipulate the day(s) on which the employee is required to take leave. In relation to the forthcoming bank holiday, an employer would need to give an employee 2 days-notice if requiring the employee to take the day as leave. Communication is key here – some employees may feel that this is unfair and that they should have a choice as to when they take the day’s leave in question. Employers may consider alternatives such as unpaid leave if a situation becomes contentious.

Part-time employees: The position for part-time employees is the same as full-time employees, however, any entitlements they have may be calculated using a pro-rata basis.

What should employers do before June 3rd?

Many employees may assume the additional bank holiday entitles them to an additional day’s holiday.   It is important for employers to reach out to their employees to ensure they understand their entitlement in respect of the forthcoming bank. Employers should do so as soon as possible.

If you require an employee who is entitled to take the additional bank holiday as leave to work, you can seek to ascertain the employee’s agreement to work by offering an enhanced rate of pay for the day in question or enhanced time off in lieu (for example 1.5 days leave to be granted for one day’s work on the bank holiday). Employers should give employees as much notice as possible if they wish for an employee to work on what should be a non-working day. Employers should be mindful that they cannot unilaterally (without an employee’s agreement) force an employee to work on a day which the employee is not contractually obliged to work – this would constitute a breach of contract.

Employers should be mindful of their approach when discussing this topic of conversation as staff may be reluctant to work an additional bank holiday. Employers should seriously consider offering enhanced remuneration or time off to employees who they require to work a bank holiday (where they are not contractually bound to do so).

How can Thrive help?

If you feel you’re struggling to retain staff or incentivise with initiatives, and you are looking for an outsourced HR partner to assist in the management of your workforce, please get in touch today at enquiries@thrivelaw.co.uk

Disclaimer

Please note this blog is for reference purposes only and is only accurate at the date it was published. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action. Please contact us if you have any questions at enquiries@thrivelaw.co.uk

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