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Long live our gracious bank holiday

1st October 2012

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It's the Queen's 60th year on the throne.

A variety of celebrations are planned, including moving the late May bank holiday to Monday the 4th of June and declaring an extra bank holiday on Tuesday the 5th of June.

Do I have to give my workers the time off?

That depends. There is no statutory right to have bank or public holidays off, and the statutory annual leave entitlement for 2012 remains the same at 28 days or 5.6 weeks.

So whether or not workers have the right to an extra day off depends on the wording of their contracts.

What contract wording would give them the right to the extra day off?

Contracts can be worded very differently. This is a rough guide to the sort of things that a clause dealing with holiday/annual leave might say.

The contract might give the right to a certain number of days leave including bank and public holidays. This would probably mean that the worker would have the right to get the additional bank holiday off, but then would lose a day of annual leave. This is because the contract sets out the total number of days to which they are entitled.

The contract might give the right to a certain number of days leave in addition to all bank (or public or statutory) holidays. This would probably mean that the worker would have a right to have the extra day in addition to their normal annual leave.

The contract might set out the actual names of the bank holidays, as well as giving the number of day's annual leave. This would probably mean that the worker would not have the right to the extra bank holiday as is would not be one of those named in the contract.

So what should I do about the extra bank holiday?

Employers should check their employment documentation to see what rights their workers have, and then decide how to handle the issue. It is important that you are clear about your policy as soon as possible, as people will be upset if they thought they were getting an extra day off and then they do not. You might also want to think about your holiday policy in general, as a lot of staff may want to take the rest of the week off. Employers can ask staff to take their holiday at times convenient to the business (as long as the staff get to take their holiday entitlement some time during the year).

You also need to check how you handled the bank holiday for the Royal Wedding last year, as employees can argue that whatever you did then has set a precedent for this year.

What about part-timers?

They are entitled to the same holiday as full timers, pro-rated to their part time hours. If they are entitled to the additional bank holiday, you should take it into account when calculating their annual leave entitlement.

Do I need to pay extra, or give extra time off if staff work on a bank holiday?

There is no statutory right to be paid extra or receive more than the statutory holiday entitlement for working on a bank holiday, but many employers choose to incentivize staff by offering them extras to provide bank holiday cover. If you have previously offered extras to staff working a bank holiday this may have become part of their terms and conditions through custom and practice. You will need to check that you will not be in breach of contract if you decide to stop providing the incentives.

We hope this ezine has been useful.

If you have any questions you can call Law Express on 01275-378727.


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