With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II has come the announcement that an extra bank holiday will be granted for her funeral on Monday, 19 September.
However, as the nation comes together to mark this sad 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. 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 25 days holiday per year plus public and bank holidays 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 25 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 just 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 to take time off for the Queen’s funeral. As such, if you haven’t already received an influx of holiday requests, you should expect them soon!
It is therefore important to start considering holiday arrangements as soon as possible. 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 that of another colleague who has already requested the time off.
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.
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.