On 12 November 2020, the Government announced plans for the creation of the Platinum Jubilee four day weekend in celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s 70th anniversary, with the late May bank holiday moving to Thursday 3 June and an additional bank holiday to take place on Friday 4 June.
Whilst this is welcome news for many, it does pose some practical implications for most employers. Nockolds HR have put together a short FAQ segment to take a look at how you can prepare your business.
Are bank holidays a statutory entitlement?
No, there is no statutory right to paid public holidays (including bank holidays), or to days off in lieu of public holidays, provided the total holiday entitlement does not fall below the minimum allowance of 5.6 weeks (28 days for full time employees).
What is in the employment contract?
The specific terms relating to public holidays are usually found in the employment contract. In the majority of cases a contract will state either:
- a fixed number of days’ holiday plus bank holidays (e.g. ‘20 days plus bank holidays’), or
- a fixed number including bank holidays (’28 days annual leave’).
The former usually means that bank holidays will be given as standard days off, whereas the latter typically means bank holidays will be working days and that equivalent time off will be given another time.
Our employment contracts state a fixed number (eight) of public holidays. What do we do about the additional bank holiday day this year?
If your business will remain open and operating as usual on Friday 4 June, employees will be expected to attend work as they normally would. Employees wishing to take the day off to join the Platinum Jubilee celebrations will need to request this time off as annual leave from their existing entitlement in the usual way.
We’re going to close on Friday 4 June, but employees are not contractually entitled to the extra bank holiday. What can we do?
Employers have some options here. You can choose to award Friday 4 June as an additional days’ paid/annual leave, which would certainly be welcome news to your staff. Alternatively, you could operate as a “company shut down” day and deduct a days’ annual leave from each employee from their existing entitlement. You will need to make sure that employees still have additional leave left to do that. Alternatively, employees not wishing to take annual leave or with insufficient entitlement remaining, will need to take the day as unpaid leave.
What happens if the additional bank holiday is kept in future?
Earlier this week, reports from the Government suggested that the chancellor was considering making the upcoming Platinum Jubilee bank holiday a permanent fixture every year, in honour of Queen Elizabeth II and her reign. This would take the total number of public holidays observed in England to nine. Whilst this has not been confirmed, it may not be the celebration employees expect. As some contracts provide for a certain number of bank holidays which means that holiday entitlement would remain the same. However, other contracts say that bank holidays are in addition, meaning that employees will get an extra day of annual leave.
This is likely to impact employee morale and employers will need to decide which approach is right for them but with the sharp increase in the cost of living and ever more demanding pressures on employees, an additional day to spend with family and loved ones would be a quick win for many organisations to give a little back to their teams.
If you would like to discuss any of the above please contact the Nockolds HR team on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our Team will be in touch.