On Friday 3 June 2022, there will be an extra Bank Holiday granted to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

As the usual May Bank Holiday has been moved forward to Thursday 2 June 2022, it has resulted in a 4 day weekend for those able to take the time off. However, what will the additional Bank Holiday mean for some employers and their workers? Will some be required to work as usual?

But what are your employees’ rights for an additional Bank Holiday is announced?

The general rule is that employees do not have an automatic right to a day off work when this or any other Bank Holiday is announced. To establish if an employee is entitled to a day off work (and to be paid it), employers should look to the contract of employment.

When we refer to “employees” this should include “workers” and vice versa.

For example:

  • Some contracts will state the employee is entitled to a certain number of days annual leave, “plus bank holidays”. In this case they will be entitled to the additional Bank Holiday off work.
  • Other contracts of employment state that the employee is entitled to a set number of days’ annual leave, but does not mention Bank Holidays. In this situation, the employee will not be automatically be entitled to the additional day off work.
  • Some employment contracts provide the employee with a set number of days’ annual leave, “plus eight Bank Holidays”. Again, this will mean that the employee is not automatically entitled to this additional (ninth) Bank Holiday off work.
  • If instead, the contract states “you are entitled to XX days holiday plus the usual bank holidays in England and Wales” again, the employee will not have an automatic right to the additional Bank Holiday because the addition Jubilee day is not a “usual” Bank Holiday.
  • Also, under some contracts the employer might reserve the right for the employee or worker to work on a Bank Holiday for the same or more pay or allow time off in lieu.

Employers will need to review their employees’ contracts of employment to see whether all of them, some of them or none of them are entitled to take the Platinum Jubilee day off of work.

Where employees do not have a contractual right to the additional day, employers will need to consider if they wish to grant the day’s leave as a gesture of good will or if they will require employees to attend work – perhaps give employees a day off in lieu of the Bank Holiday due to staffing requirements.

What about part time employees?

Employers should again check their contracts of employment to see what is included with regards to Bank Holidays. If, for example, the employee IS entitled to additional days off,  but they do not work a Thursday or a Friday their holiday entitlement will need to be adjusted on a pro-rata basis to avoid any suggestion that the part time employee has been treated less favourably.

What about those on family leave?

For those who are on family leave (for example maternity leave), their holiday – including eligible Bank Holidays – will continue to accrue as well. Check their contracts of employment and decide if they are eligible to the additional day off. If they are, their entitlements will been to be adjusted.

Whilst employers can comply with the letter of the contract, they should not forget that the additional day’s can also be a morale booster. It may be that where the business allows, employers are able to grant the additional day’s holiday as a sign of good will – stressing of course the reason for it being allowed as a one-off gesture.

28th May 2022


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