With the announcement of an additional bank holiday in 2022 to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee, employers will need to decide their approach.
Sometimes additional public holidays are granted by Royal Proclamation. The Government has announced an additional bank holiday in 2022 to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee. The late May bank Holiday has been moved to Thursday 2nd June followed by the Jubilee day on Friday 3rd June. This will create a long bank holiday weekend from the Thursday to the Sunday. This applies to England and Wales.
Employers need to decide how they will approach the additional bank holiday. This will be determined to some extent by the wording in the contract. Where the contract entitles employees to take as paid leave “all bank and public holidays”, the employer will have no choice but to grant the extra day in the usual way or negotiate otherwise.
Where the contract requires workers to work on “all bank holidays”, the employer can require them to work on the additional day. If they are paid a higher rate for working on a bank holiday and the contract does not limit the number of bank holidays to which the higher rate applies, the employer must pay that rate for the additional day.
However, where the contract limits entitlement to a day off work (or to a higher rate of pay where bank holidays are worked) to the “usual eight” bank holidays, the employer will need to decide its policy in relation to the additional day this year.
If the employer chooses to give its workers the day off as an extra day’s paid holiday (or pay them a higher rate if they work on that day), it should express this as being a non-contractual discretionary measure that applies only during the year in question. Otherwise, workers may, in future, have grounds to argue that time off (or the higher rate of pay) on additional bank holidays is a contractual right, implied by custom and practice.
If workers will be required to take the additional day off out of their existing holiday entitlement, the employer will need to plan ahead to ensure that it gives them the requisite notice.
If some or all workers will be required to work on the additional public holiday, the employer may wish to consider a one-off discretionary day off in lieu as a gesture of goodwill.
Bank holidays are less widely observed in Scotland, but, as in England and Wales, entitlement to time off on public holidays depends on the terms of the contract.
There are nine usual bank and public holidays in Scotland: New Year’s Day, 2 January, Good Friday, the first Monday in May, the last Monday in May, the first Monday in August, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and St Andrew’s Day (or the following Monday if it falls at a weekend).
Local authorities in Scotland may also set “local” holidays, which vary from region to region. Employers with workers in Scotland should check whether or not their contracts entitle them to a day off work on local holidays.
If you have any questions, or would like support with any of the above, then please do get in touch with our partners HR Initiatives Limited.
Emma Williams – Managing Director, HR Initiatives Limited
HR Initiatives provides expert HR advice to SME businesses. The team of HR professionals have extensive experience in HR management and help businesses navigate a safe path through the minefield of HR.