What are your employees’ rights for the new bank holiday?

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Following the heart-breaking news of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, a new bank holiday has been announced to mark her state funeral. The date has been set for Monday the 19th of September.

As the news was so sudden, it has left some companies confused and wondering ‘Are my employees entitled to the extra day off?’ Here’s what you need to know…

The answer is always in your contract!

All UK employees have the right to 5.6 weeks (28 days) of yearly paid holiday. Some companies may offer more than this, but the minimal legal requirement is 28 days. However, in some contracts this may include, exclude or be on top of bank holidays – it’s all in your contract!

For clarity and understanding,

▪️The minimum legal holiday entitlement across the UK is to provide 28 days (5.6 weeks) holidays which historically was formed by
– 20 days (4 weeks) and 8 days (1.6 weeks) for UK bank holidays as given by UK legislation.

▪️Therefore, whether your company is required to provide a day off for this additional bank holiday will depend solely on your contracts and what you have agreed to provide.

▪️If your contracts state;
‘You are entitled to 28 days holiday inclusive of bank/ public holiday’
– Then there is no right to this extra bank holiday and it will be up to the company whether to provide it.

▪️If your contracts state;
‘You are entitled to 20 or 25 (different companies offer different holiday allowances) days holidays in addition to UK bank holidays.’
– Then the Company has contractually agreed to the extra bank holiday and therefore there is an entitlement to an extra day off this year.

How do we manage the new bank holiday?

Once again, the answer is in the contract and how you have managed bank holidays in the past, if your employees are entitled to the new bank holiday but due to the nature of the business they are still required to work over bank holidays then you will have a process in place for existing bank holidays to be taken/requested as annual leave or given a day in lieu, therefore the extra bank holiday will simply need to be added to their allowance for this holiday year.

Can’t find the answer in the contract?

If you can’t find the answer in your contracts or employee handbooks it may be time to review your contracts and update your handbooks.

Get in touch with Harwood HR info@harwood-hr.co.uk who can support you through this change and ensure you and your employees have clarity and are following best practice and compliant in all contractual terms of employment.

Frequently asked questions;

Our contracts clearly state we offer employees 25 days holiday and 8 days Bank holidays. Should we reconsider this and give our employees the extra bank holiday? The office will be closed anyway, and if we don’t do we request they take it as annual leave?

Harwood HR advice;

As your contract clearly states 8 days bank holiday, you do not have to give your employees the extra bank holiday, but you should give them notice if they are to request it as annual leave. However, you may wish to grant them the extra bank holiday day this year as a gesture of goodwill and in the spirit of mourning with the nation. If they feel they are losing out on a day’s leave making this decision is likely to have a positive impact on staff morale, loyalty and making your team feel valued.

We need some staff to cover the Bank holiday, how do we decide who can take the day off and who must work it?

Harwood HR advice

Most companies allocate bank holidays and annual leave requests on a first come first served basis, it’s just easier this way to manage however others try to have a fairer approach; when an employee has been denied their request once, they get first choice for the next bank holiday to choose if they wish to take it or work it. It’s up to but in general it’s usually best to continue whichever process you have used historically for other bank holidays.

Harwood HR – HR Consultants providing HR Consultancy and HR Outsourced Services.  We provide clear, cost-effective HR advice. For a free consultation, please contact us on:

0117 439 0119 or info@harwood-hr.co.uk

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