Following the incredibly sad news of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, King Charles III approved a bank holiday to mark her state funeral. The date has been set for Monday the 19th of September.
As the decision was so sudden, it has left many companies unsure if their employees are entitled to the extra day off. Here is what you need to know
The first place to look is always in your contract of employment
All UK employees have the right to 5.6 weeks (28 days) of annual paid holiday. Some companies may offer more than this. However, the minimum legal requirement is 28 days. In some contracts, this may include, exclude or be on top of bank holidays.
– The minimum legal holiday entitlement across the UK is to provide 28 days (5.6 weeks) holidays which previously was formed by 20 days (4 weeks) basic holiday entitlement and eight days (1.6 weeks) for UK bank holidays as given by UK legislation.
– Therefore, whether your company is required to provide a day off for this additional bank holiday will depend on what is stated in your contracts and what the company has agreed to provide.
– Should your contracts state;
‘You are entitled to 28 days holiday inclusive of bank/ public holiday’ then there is no right to this extra bank holiday, and it will be at the company’s discretion whether to provide it or not.
– Should your contracts state;
‘You are entitled to 20 days (different companies offer different holiday allowances) in addition to UK bank holidays.’ Then the company has contractually agreed to the extra bank holiday, and therefore there is an entitlement to an extra day off this year.
– The deciding factor is the wording around the bank holidays and whether the number of days is stipulated in the contract or not.
How do companies manage this extra bank holiday?
Check your contract and follow the guidelines as set out above. It will detail if employees are entitled to the extra bank holiday and how bank holidays have been managed in the past. If your employees are entitled to the bank holiday, however, due to the nature of the business, they are still required to work over bank holidays; then you will already have a process in place for existing bank holidays. This system may be that the bank holiday is to be taken/requested as annual leave or given a day in lieu, in which case they will need to add an additional day to their allowance for this holiday year.
Frequently asked questions.
Q) Our contracts state we offer employees 25 days and eight days of Bank holidays. Should we reconsider this and give our employees an extra bank holiday? The office will be closed anyway, and if we don’t, do we need to request they take it as annual leave?
A) As your contract clearly states eight days bank holiday, you do not have to give your employees the extra bank holiday; however, you should give them sufficient notice if they request it as annual leave. However, you may wish to grant them the extra bank holiday day this year as a gesture of goodwill and in the spirit of mourning with the nation. This can only have a positive impact on staff morale and loyalty and make your team feel valued.
Q) Due to the nature of our business, we will need some staff to cover the Bank holiday, how do we decide who can take the day off and who must work it?
A) Most companies allocate bank holidays and annual leave requests on a first-come, first-served basis; however, others try to have a fairer approach; when an employee has been denied their request once, they get the first choice for the next bank holiday to choose if they wish to take it or work it. It is at each company’s discretion which approach they take, but in general, it’s usually best to continue whichever process you have used historically for other bank holidays.
If your contracts and employee handbooks aren’t providing any clarity to this query, it may be time to review your contracts and update your handbooks.
Please get in touch with Bradfield HR at email@example.com, and we can support you through this process and ensure you and your employees have clarity and are following best practices and compliant with all contractual terms of employment.