Extra days annual leave for the Jubilee bank/public holiday

When is this?

There is an extra bank/public holiday to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, taking place on Friday 3rd June 2022. In addition, the late May bank holiday has been moved from Monday 30th May to Thursday 2nd June, creating a four-day weekend for some. This applies in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Who is entitled to it?

There is no overriding statutory obligation on an employer to allow their workforce time off just because a day has been nominated as a public holiday. Accordingly, employees are not necessarily entitled to the Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday simply because the Government has announced it. Whether employers are legally required to honour the extra bank holiday will depend upon the wording of the contract of employment.

For example, if their contracts state that their annual leave entitlement includes “the usual or standard bank holidays” or specifies which or what number of bank holidays are included “X days plus X days bank/public holidays”, they will not be entitled to this additional bank holiday. This will also be the case if their contracts are silent regarding bank holiday entitlement.

If, however, their contracts state that their annual leave entitlement is “X days plus bank holidays”, then they will be entitled to the additional day’s leave.

Those who are not entitled to it!

Where there is no contractual entitlement to the extra bank holiday, employers can expect their employees to work on 3rd June 2022, assuming the bank holiday falls on a normal day of work for the employee.

What if they are entitled to this additional day’s leave but you need to open on the bank/public holiday?

For example, Health Care Professionals or the Leisure or Hospitality Businesses where It is not always possible or desirable for businesses to close on a bank holiday.

Employees working within these sectors are often used to working on a bank holiday but having the equivalent time off at another point. You are able to open on the extra nominated holiday and then provide your employees with a day off in lieu at another time.

Paid extra if they work on the Jubilee bank holiday?

There is no legal requirement to pay employees extra when working on a bank/public holiday.

Again, it will all depend upon the wording of the contract of employment. If the contract states that the employee is entitled to an extra payment when working on public holidays, then the employee should receive the higher payment if agreeing to work them.

What if your employees are not entitled to the extra bank holiday, could you still close?

You could choose to close an extra day and require your staff to take the day as leave out of their annual leave entitlement. However, you will need to give your employees sufficient notice, (check the length of notice required in the contract), if you are requiring them to use their annual leave entitlement.

Alternatively, you could close on the day of the bank holiday and, as a gesture of goodwill, grant your staff an extra day’s paid leave on a discretionary basis.

Advice

There is likely to be an increase in annual leave requests around this four-day weekend, so it is important to communicate with employees about the arrangements for the Jubilee bank holiday as soon as possible. Make sure you have a fair process in place for dealing with these requests to prevent the risk of legal action.

If you would like advice on the Jubilee bank holiday or any other contractual or employment law issue then, please contact Sarah Cooper, Employment Solicitor on 01842 754151 or sarahcooper@rudlings.co.uk.

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