Are employees entitled to a day off for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday?
As a result of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year, the government announced that there will be an extra bank holiday 3rd June 2022. As such, this will result in nine bank holidays this year, as opposed to the normal eight days.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of employers are now considering whether their employees are entitled to this extra bank holiday as a day off, or not.
The first port of call will be to check the employment contract. This is because there is a fairly common misunderstanding that employees have a legal right to paid time off for bank holidays. Strictly speaking, the law (the Working Time Regulations 1998) does not make any specific reference to bank holidays; it simply says that employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday each year. Therefore, the employment contract will usually the place to determine what the answer is.
Although it is impossible to cover every possible contractual term relating to holidays and bank holidays in this article, below are a number of examples, along with our view as to how this will affect the additional bank holiday this year.
If the contract says that the employee is entitled “to all bank and public holidays” then the extra day should be treated as an entitlement to an additional day’s leave.
If the contract says that the employee is entitled “[ ] days holiday plus all bank and public holidays” then, again, the extra day should be treated as an entitlement to an additional day’s leave.
If the contract says that the employee is entitled “[ ] days holiday each year plus 8 bank holidays” then the contract makes it clear that the employee’s entitlement to bank holidays is limited to 8 bank holidays. Therefore, there would be no entitlement an additional (ninth) bank holiday.
If the contract says that the employee is entitled “[ ] days holiday each year plus the usual bank holidays ” then there would be a good argument that this means that the new bank holiday this year is not ‘usual’. Therefore, there would be no entitlement the additional (ninth) bank holiday.
Finally, if the contract says that the employee is entitled “[ ] days holiday per annum” then the contract does not refer to any difference between normal annual leave and bank holidays. As such, the employee could ask to take 3rd June 2022 as annual leave, but this day would be taken into account when calculating the total number of days leave as per their contract.
Although the above examples provide a legal answer the point, employers should potentially also want to bear in mind the impact of a refusal to allow the day from an industrial relations perspective, but this consideration will, as ever, be a commercial decision as well.