To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, an additional Bank Holiday has been announced for the UK on Friday 3 June. With the May Bank Holiday moved to Thursday 2 June, this means a four-day weekend to mark the occasion! But before you start pulling out the bunting, it’s important to understand who’s actually entitled to the day off.
Eligible staff (employees, casual workers and agency workers) are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid holiday leave every year, which is equivalent to 28 days per year for a full-time staff member. Importantly, you can require staff to take bank and public holidays as part of this entitlement. However, while the position might be straightforward in relation to the usual eight bank and public holidays in England & Wales, when it comes to the ‘extra’ bank holiday this June, the position is not quite so clear cut. We take a look at the legal implications.
There’s no automatic entitlement to take bank or public holidays off work
There is no automatic legal entitlement for your staff to take bank or public holidays off work, which means you’re not legally required to allow your staff to take the extra bank holiday off. The only exception to this is that some banking sector workers do automatically get bank holidays as days off work.
Check what the employment contract says
Because there’s no automatic legal right for most staff to take bank or public holidays off work, you’ll need to carefully check the wording of your staff members’ employment contracts to see if they’re contractually entitled to the extra day off. For example:
1) Their contract says they are entitled to a specific number of days annual leave, in addition to all bank and public holidays
Staff will be entitled to take the extra day off in this scenario.
2) Their contract says they are entitled to a specific number of days annual leave, inclusive of bank and public holidays
In this scenario, it will be up to you whether you allow them to take the extra day off, as their contract does not explicitly entitle them to it.
3) Their contract says they are entitled to the normal bank and public holidays as annual leave
As the extra bank holiday is not one of the ‘normal’ eight bank and public holidays in England and Wales, it will be up to you whether you allow your staff members to take it; their contract does not automatically entitle them to the day off.
Treat part-time staff fairly
If your staff aren’t contractually entitled to the extra day off but you decide to give it to them anyway to boost morale, make sure you consider the implications for part-time staff. You must make sure that you do not treat part-time staff less favourably than comparable full-time staff, or you could face discrimination claims. This means that if the bank holiday falls on one of a part-time staff member’s usual non-working days, you must make sure their holiday allowance is adjusted on a pro rata basis to ensure they don’t miss out on the extra leave.
There’s no legal right for staff to be paid extra for working on bank or public holidays
Bear in mind that if your staff are working on the bank holiday, they’ll only be entitled to be paid extra if their contract says so.
Whatever approach your business takes to the extra bank holiday, make sure you communicate your position clearly with your staff so that they can plan ahead. If you are allowing your staff to take the day off as holiday even though they’re not contractually entitled to it, it’s good practice to make it clear that you are providing this extra benefit as a one-off gesture of goodwill.
For further guidance about annual leave, including which staff are entitled and when, see our Q&A on Dealing with annual leave.
Before joining Sparqa Legal as a Senior Legal Editor in 2017, Frankie spent five years training and practising as a corporate disputes and investigations lawyer at leading international law firm Hogan Lovells. As legal insights lead, Frankie regularly contributes to Sparqa Legal’s blog, writing content across employment law, data protection, disputes and more.