Monday 8 May 2023 has been designated as an extra bank holiday to mark the coronation of King Charles III, which will take place on Saturday 6 May. However, as the nation comes together to celebrate this occasion, have you considered how the 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 an extra bank holiday has been announced. There is actually no statutory requirement to offer employees any bank holidays.
The Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTRs) do not differentiate between bank holidays and other days, so employers are allowed to include them in the 5.6 week minimum holiday entitlement that all workers are entitled to. Therefore, under the WTRs, this 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 employment contracts.
If the contract states ‘20 days holiday per year plus public and bank holidays’, or similar wording and nothing more, the employee will be 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 including bank holidays’, the employee will not be contractually entitled to the extra bank holiday as the total number of days has been specified.
Similarly, if the contract states ‘20 days holiday per year plus 8 bank holidays’, then again, the employee will not be contractually entitled to the extra bank holiday as the total number of days has been specified. (NB: there are typically 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 this extra bank holiday has only recently been announced, it’s highly unlikely to be specifically mentioned in the list of public holidays, which means the employee won’t be contractually entitled to it as paid holiday unless otherwise agreed.
As an employer, what should you do?
It probably goes without saying that many employees will want, and may be expecting, an extended weekend to celebrate the King’s coronation, and you may already be receiving holiday requests for the 4 days following the bank holiday, from those who assume they are getting it.
It is therefore important to consider your position on this as soon as possible and to communicate this to your staff in good time. It might also be a good time to remind employees of your policy for requesting holidays in order that they understand the position where there are competing holiday requests.
That said, with most of the country likely to come together to mark the occasion, it is worth considering staff morale and not just whether employees are contractually entitled to the extra holiday.
As a gesture of goodwill, you may decide to give the extra holiday as paid leave to all employees, whilst managing future expectations by 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.