To mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 there will be an extra, one-off bank holiday in the UK, with the spring bank holiday at the end of May moving to Thursday 2 June 2022 and an additional bank holiday on Friday 3 June.
However, as the nation comes together over a four-day weekend to celebrate the Queen’s 70-year reign, have you considered how this extra bank holiday may affect your business?
Who is entitled to this extra bank holiday?
Employers aren’t legally obliged to give their workers time off just because the Government has announced an extra bank holiday.
There is no statutory requirement for employers to offer employees any bank holidays. The Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) do not differentiate between bank holidays and other days so employers are allowed to include them in the 5.6 week minimum holiday entitlement. Therefore, under the WTR, this years’ extra bank holiday could be treated as one of the 28 statutory days.
What is stated in the contract?
Bank holiday entitlement should always be made clear within annual leave policies and employee contracts.
If the contract states 25 days holiday per year plus public and bank holidays, and nothing more, then the employee is contractually entitled to the extra bank holiday because the number of bank holidays has not been specified.
If the contract states 28 days or 5.6 weeks, which includes bank holidays, the employee will not be entitled as the number of total days has been specified. Similarly, if the contract states 25 days holiday per year plus 8 bank holidays, then again, the employee would not be entitled as the number of total days has been specified. (NB: 9 bank holidays in Scotland).
It is also not unusual for some contracts to list all public holidays to which the employee is entitled. Given that the Government has only recently announced the extra bank holiday for this year, it may not be specifically mentioned in the list of public holidays which means the employee is not contractually entitled to that day as paid holiday, unless agreed otherwise.
How does the extra bank holiday affect part time workers?
The position of part time workers with regard to bank holidays is not always clear. The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 (PTWR) provide that ‘it is unlawful to treat a part-time worker less favourably than a comparable full-time worker unless the treatment is objectively justified’.
Some employers may allow part-time workers a pro-rata entitlement to these holidays regardless of their working days, while others may only allow part-timers paid time off if the holiday in question falls on a day on which the employee would normally be at work. This latter approach, whilst at one time commonplace, could result in the employee being treated ‘less favourably’ depending upon which days they work, and the employer therefore being in breach of the regulations. That being the case, giving part-time workers a pro rata entitlement to bank holidays is considered to be the safest approach.
As an employer, what should you do?
Many working parents will want to take time off and make the most of two bank holidays in a row, which also coincides with the May half-term holiday. So, if you haven’t already received an influx of holiday requests, expect them anytime soon!
It is therefore important to start considering holiday arrangements. Remind your employees what the policy is with regards to requesting holidays. It may be helpful to communicate with them how you intend to deal with the extra bank holiday to avoid any disappointment if their request clashes with another colleague who has already requested time off.
Ensure any part time employees who do not work on a Thursday and/or Friday are receiving a fair amount of time off.
With that said, after a difficult 2 years, the whole country will come together to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, as we continue to work towards a new normal. It is therefore worth considering staff morale and not just whether employees are contractually entitled to the extra holiday.
As gesture of goodwill, you may decide to give the extra holiday as paid leave to all employees, whilst making them aware that you are not required to do so.
In any event, it is important to review employee contracts periodically to remain up to date. If you are unsure about anything covered in this article and would like further clarification or assistance, please contact us on 01942 727200 or at email@example.com.