Many employees may already be swept-up in making plans for the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday. But are they legally entitled to this extra day off?
The special four-day weekend has been made up of moving the late May bank holiday to Thursday 2 June, with an extra bank holiday on the 3 June. This means that there are 9 bank holidays in England this year. Whether an employee is entitled to the additional day depends on the employment contract wording, and their work patterns.
Who is entitled to the extra bank holiday?
This depends on the employment contract. There are many scenarios, and we have illustrated some of the more common ones below. Please note these scenarios are not extensive, and this article is intended as a guide only.
If an employee’s contract says an employee is entitled to 20 days annual leave, plus bank holidays. They will be entitled to the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday.
If an employment contract states they are entitled to 28 days of annual leave, inclusive of bank holidays, the additional day is not explicitly included under the contract. Therefore, it would be the employer’s choice whether to allow the additional bank holiday.
If the contract of employment refers to the ‘usual’ bank holidays, given the extra bank holiday is not a usual bank holiday, the employee would not automatically be entitled to it.
What about employees who would usually work on a bank holiday?
Employees in this category should not expect the day off. If they usually receive a more generous rate for working on bank holidays, they may expect a higher rate of pay. Employers must check the wording of the employment contract in order to determine legal entitlements, and communicate this to employees in advance of the holiday.
What about part time workers?
This is an area that advo are frequently asked about! In these circumstances, it would depend on the wording of the employee’s contract. If a part-time employee’s contract reflects Scenario 1, they are entitled to the additional bank holiday. Please remember holiday entitlement should always be adjusted on a pro-rata basis to avoid claims for less favourable treatment of part time workers.
What should employers do now?
It may be obvious where we are going with this. Employers unsure of whether to allow the employees the additional bank holiday should dig out their employment contracts now, and carefully check the wording to determine legal entitlement. It may also be worth looking back to the approach taken for the Royal Wedding bank holiday of 2011. Opting for a different approach may leave long-serving employees asking questions.
One thing that is imperative to take into account in the current climate is employee morale. Recruitment is perhaps the most challenging it has ever been, and the Great Resignation is ongoing, with vacancies currently at an all-time high. Employers should ensure they are doing all they can to keep morale high and turnover low – if your employees are contractually not entitled to the extra bank holiday, are the cost savings the for the business worth the inevitable damage to employee morale and disgruntled employees?
We are expecting a lot of questions about this additional bank holiday and if you have any queries at all, please do not hesitate to contact the HR Team at advo.