The Jubilee bank holiday and employment law!

26-05-2022


With bunting and cakes appearing everywhere ready to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee, our employment team consider some typical questions raised about employees’ entitlement to the extra days’ holiday.

Are all employees entitled to have the extra day off?

The short answer to this is no, not all employees, as it depends on the individual’s contract of employment and work requirements.

What is the legal right to annual leave?

Full time workers are entitled to 28 days’ paid annual leave per year (equal to 5.6 weeks), which can include the bank holidays, so this means there is not a standalone right to time off on a bank holiday.

However, many employers require employees to take holiday over the bank holidays as the workplace is closed. Where this is the case, it is usually dealt with specifically in the employment contracts by making the bank holidays part of the employees’ overall annual leave.

How can the employment contract impact this?

Where annual leave is specifically set out in the employment contract it will usually specify a number of days with the bank holidays in addition (typically 20 days plus bank holidays).  If the wording is very similar to this, then the employees will be entitled to an additional day off for the extra Jubilee bank holiday.

However, some contracts may specify a total number of days, and may not specify whether bank holidays are included within this. Others may deal with bank holidays directly, saying something like “…plus an additional eight bank holidays”, or even list the usual eight bank holidays. Therefore, for employees with contracts addressing bank holidays in this way, they would not technically be entitled to the additional day off.

However, it is worth considering that in the spirit of celebration and goodwill, even if the contract does not specifically require it, many employers may be willing to grant the extra day as a goodwill gesture, which is likely to be highly valued by employees as extra time off.

Alternatively, if employees need to work on the day and giving the time off is not an option, employers could consider providing time off in lieu in recognition.

What about part time employees?

It is also worth considering the leave in the context of part-time employees, particularly as part-time workers must not be treated less favourably than full-time colleagues under the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000.

The paid holiday entitlement for part-time workers can be calculated on a pro-rata basis with reference to that of full-time workers.

However, this can present some difficulties, particularly if part-time workers are only allowed holiday in respect of bank holidays that land on days they normally work. For example, this tends to work in the favour of the part-time employees that work on Mondays. Therefore, the simplest way to achieve equality is to give part time employees pro-rated entitlement to all bank holidays their full-time colleagues receive.

Where can I find help?

Holiday entitlements and pay can be tricky, so it is important to seek assistance from employment law experts should any issues arise. You can contact our employment team on [email protected] or 01635 508080 for more details on how we can help. You can also use the Gov.uk calculator to help with your holiday calculations: Calculate holiday entitlement – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Julie Taylor

Partner
Employment Law

Rabika Basran

Solicitor
Employment Law

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