By now you’ll no doubt be aware that there is an additional bank holiday on Monday 8th May 2023 to celebrate King Charles’ coronation, giving us 4 bank holidays in quick succession!
Whilst this is great news for employees, bank holidays can raise a host of HR questions for employers to deal with. Some of the most common issues relate to an employee’s entitlement to have the standard bank holidays off, and whether these rules apply to ‘one off’ holidays like the King’s Coronation.
So how should employers handle these issues?
A good place to start is with the legal position which is governed in part by the Working Time Regulations (WTR) 1998. This makes it clear that bank holidays and normal working days are not treated differently and says:
- There is no automatic right to take a bank holiday off work.
- There is no statutory right to additional pay for working on a bank holiday.
- Employees have the right to at least the minimum annual leave entitlement with part-time employees not being treated less favourably.
- Employers are entitled to include bank holidays in the minimum annual leave entitlement.
In addition to being aware of the WTR, employers should review employees’ contracts of employment as these often contain clauses which define specifically how bank holidays are to be dealt with. For example, there may be wording included in the contract giving, for example, ‘entitlement to take leave on all bank and public holidays’.
Regardless of the legal position, we strongly advise employers to have a company policy in place which would comprehensively cover the treatment of holiday entitlement including standard and ‘one off’ bank holidays.
Let’s look at the King’s coronation bank holiday and review some scenarios that might arise. Of course, some employers will grant all employees a day’s leave, regardless of the legal position. Whilst this may be well received by staff, we understand that for some businesses this is just not possible. Particularly after the last few years. So:
- What if the employee is entitled to x No. days holiday plus all bank holidays? This is the easiest scenario to deal with as here the employee is contractually entitled to take the day off and may do so without using up holiday entitlement. An employer may come to a mutual agreement with the employee to work on that day and would usually come with benefits such as a day off in lieu or extra pay.
- What if the employee is contracted to work but wants the day off? If the contract of employment doesn’t allow for an employee to have a bank holiday or public holiday off work then they can apply for it off as holiday and this must be considered by the employer in the usual way, as though it was a normal working day. For a ‘one off’ bank holiday this also applies where an employee is not contractually entitled to all bank holidays, for example, contractually ‘entitled to x No. holiday days and 8 bank holidays.’
- What if you have employees working part-time hours? The approach regarding entitlement to time off applies in the same way as for full-time employees. If the part-time employee was not scheduled to work on the King’s coronation, we would advise calculating their entitlement to an extra day off on a pro-rata basis.
Of course, we haven’t covered all eventualities here but we hope that you have found this useful. Please get in touch if you have any queries surrounding this or would like help with your holiday policy. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We also have a guide to writing your holiday policy which is free to download here!