2022 has a reason to celebrate after the announcement that there will be an extra bank holiday to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This exciting event is to fall on Friday 3 June 2022 and due to the late May bank holiday being shifted to Thursday 2 June 2022, this will form a special four-day weekend for many – but not for all.
Employees will only be legally entitled to take this extra jubilee bank holiday if their contract says so.
What does the Employment contract say?
- If an employee’s contract says they are entitled to, for example 20 days plus bank holidays, they will be entitled to the additional platinum jubilee bank holiday.
- If an employee’s contract states that they are entitled to, for example 28 days of annual leave inclusive of bank holidays, it will be the employers choice whether to allow the extra bank holiday as it is not explicitly included under the contract. The employee will not automatically get the extra day off.
- If the employment contract refers to ‘usual’ bank holidays, for example “you are entitled to 20 days holiday plus the usual bank holidays in England and Wales”, then given the extra bank holiday isn’t a ‘usual’ bank holiday, the employee would not automatically be entitled to it, but the employer may decide to give it as an extra benefit.
It is important to note that employees who are normally required to work on a bank holiday should not expect the day off. However, if they usually receive a more generous “bank holiday rate” for working on bank holiday, they may expect this higher rate of pay. It is important that employers look carefully at the wording of the employment contract to see what their contractual legal entitlements are and decide how to proceed.
It is also important that employers consider part-time workers. The position stands as the same as full time workers, where their entitlement to the bank holiday depends on the wording of their contract. If they are entitled to the additional bank holiday given the wording of their contract, but they do not work on a Friday their holiday entitlement should be adjusted on a pro-rata basis to avoid claims for less favourable treatment of part-time workers.
Employees on maternity leave continue to accrue annual leave in accordance with heir contract. This means that when working out the accrued leave for those employees, it will be important to look at the wording in their contract to determine their entitlement.
What should employers do now?
- Employers should examine the wording of each employee’s contract to see if they are legally entitled to the extra bank holiday and take specialist legal advice if they are unsure about the position.
- Employers should consider how they addressed the extra jubilee bank holiday for the Royal Wedding in 2011 and whether those practices will be consistent. Even if the extra bank holiday was given to employees when they weren’t necessarily entitled to it back in 2011, it does not mean that legally the same practice should be put into place for this extra bank holiday. However, it may be something long-serving employees raise or question.
- Most of all, employers should take into consideration employee morale. It is important to consider that even if their employees are not legally entitled to it, will depriving them from the extra bank holiday result in employee dissatisfaction? If employers are generous enough to give this additional day when not required to, they should make this clear by announcing to them that they will be receiving this extra benefit. On the back of the turbulence of the last two years, the extra bank holiday benefit may help boost employee morale, or at least keep employee morale at a consistent level instead of damaging it.
17th February 2022