Following the sad news of the Queen’s passing on Thursday 8th September 2022, it was announced that the date of her State Funeral (Monday 19th September 2022) will be a National Bank Holiday. But what does that mean for employees and workers?
Does it mean that all employees are entitled to take the additional Bank Holiday as annual leave?
Ultimately, there is no statutory right for employees to take bank holidays as annual leave. There is statutory 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) of when and how holiday is to be taken.
- 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 annual leave.
- If 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 State Funeral Bank Holiday is not a “usual” bank holiday.
I need my employees to work the Bank Holiday, but they are contractually entitled to have the day off as annual leave. What can I do?
You can ask the employee whether they are willing to work on the Bank Holiday, however, 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). If the employee agrees, you should offer the employee a day in lieu (to be taken at another time). You cannot unilaterally (without an employee’s agreement) force an employee to work on a day on which the employee is not contractually obliged to work – this would constitute a breach of contract.
How much should I pay an employee when working on the Bank Holiday if an employee agrees to work on the State Funeral Bank Holiday?
Look at the employee’s contract and 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.
The office is closed on the State Funeral Bank Holiday, but our employees are not entitled to the bank holiday off under their contract of employment. What should we do?
You could inform employees that they are required to take the additional bank holidays as part of their contractual holiday entitlement. You 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 you serve 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.
What if my employees work part-time?
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.
Please be mindful of your approach when discussing this topic of conversation as staff may be reluctant to work an additional bank holiday. As an employer, you 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).
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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.