Following the announcement of a bank holiday across the United Kingdom for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral on Monday 19 September 2022, as an employer, you may be wondering how to apply this to your team, so we hope you will find this information helpful.

Guidance for employers on the upcoming bank holiday

Do I need to give my employees the day off?

Despite being a bank holiday, it’s not automatically a day off for everyone, and whether or not you need to grant your employees time off for this additional day will depend on the wording in their employment contracts.

That said, the government has said that the bank holiday “will be a unique national moment, and we would encourage employers to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take time off.”

“The government cannot interfere in existing contractual arrangements between employers and workers. However, we would expect that many workers will be able to take the day off on the bank holiday. We also expect employers to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take the day of the funeral off work.” it added.

So if the contract states their annual leave entitlement is a certain number of days ‘plus bank holidays’ your employee is entitled to the extra day off.

However, they’re not automatically entitled to an extra day’s leave if either:

  • the contract states entitlement is expressed as a certain number of days ‘plus eight bank holidays’ (nine in Scotland) or
  • the contract specifies which bank holidays are included or states the ‘usual’ or ‘standard’ bank holidays or
  • the entitlement is to a certain number of days per year and doesn’t mention bank holidays.

Can I give my team the day off if it’s not in their contract?

Even if you’re not under any contractual obligation to provide paid time off on this unique national moment, you might want to consider granting the day regardless or providing time off in lieu if employees are required to work on that day. This would be our recommendation.

What about bank holidays for part-time workers?

Do remember any part-time or shift workers you have on your team should not be treated less favourably, and are entitled to the same pro-rata allocation of annual leave, including bank holidays, as their full-time colleagues. So, this again depends on what is in the employment contract – if they’re entitled to the extra bank holiday (or you want to grant it) then they get it outside of their standard bank holiday allocation, and if they’re not entitled to it in their contract but the additional bank holiday falls on a normal working day for a part-time worker and they want to take the day off, they would need to use a day of their annual leave allocation to do that.

What about bank holidays for employees on maternity leave?

Additionally, for any employees on maternity leave, if you decide to give all your staff the additional day this year over and above what’s in their contract, the extra day should also be added to their entitlement.

How does pay work for staff working on a bank holiday?

Although there is no automatic right to an enhanced pay rate, many employers like to offer enhanced pay on bank holidays, or enhanced pay and time off in lieu (known as TOIL) to help secure the staff cover they need. This and any obligation to work bank holidays should be set out in your employment contracts.

We’d recommend sharing your position on the extra bank holiday with your team as soon as possible. If you require your employees to use a day from their holiday entitlement (for example if the business will be closed), don’t forget that you need to give double the amount of notice as the number of days you require your employees to take (i.e. 2 days’ notice for 1 days’ leave).

If your contracts differ from the wording examples given, or you don’t have contracts in place just yet, now is a good time to get some help putting in writing what you want to provide, to give both you and your teams clarity.

If you’d like more expert help or advice on bank holidays and annual leave, we’re happy to help – get in touch for a chat.

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