Coronation Conundrum - Does Everyone Get The Additional Bank Holiday?

Issue 90

With the upcoming additional bank holiday for the King's Coronation on 8th May, as an employer or employee you may be wondering how this affects you.

The legal position on this is determined by the contract of employment, as there is no statutory entitlement to take bank holidays off. It must be remembered that what happens in practice, and anything agreed verbally may form part of the contract of employment.

Contracts may specify that an employee has 20 days’ holiday plus bank holidays, and may be worded as follows:

“you are entitled to all bank and public holidays” – the employee is entitled to the extra bank holiday off as leave and employers cannot make the employee work on the bank holiday.

“you are entitled to the usual bank and public holidays” – as the King’s Coronation is not one of the usual public holidays, the employee is not automatically entitled to have the day off, but provided they have not used up all their holiday entitlement, they may request to take the day off and it will be deducted from their outstanding leave.

For businesses that do still operate on bank or public holidays, contracts may state that bank holidays are included within the total amount of holiday entitlement, e.g., 28 days for someone working five days a week. The contract can also provide the employee with a day off in lieu where they are required to work on a bank or public holiday.

For part-time employees, there may be other considerations. Bank and public holidays generally fall on a Monday, which can cause problems where an employee does not work on a Monday. To achieve equality, employers must work out the amount of bank holidays due on a pro-rata basis (e.g., 80% of bank holidays for someone working four days a week is 6.4 days) and then deduct the amount of bank holidays the part-time employee will benefit from based on their working pattern. The remaining amount will then have to be granted to the employee to take in lieu of bank holidays. The aim is to ensure that part-time workers are not treated less favourably than full-time employees.

For employers, it is advisable to be flexible and accommodate employees’ wishes where possible for the business and not refuse holiday requests unless there is a good business reason. For employees, it is advisable to check the wording of your contract and ensure that your contract covers you to take the day off before making any holiday plans for the King’s Coronation bank holiday.

Where any dispute arises regarding the additional bank holiday, what is stated in the contract is what must be complied with. If the employee does not have the right to the time off but does not attend work then the employer can take disciplinary action, ensuring they follow the correct process in accordance with the staff handbook or the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance procedure. Rather than deal with staff who do not turn up for work on the bank holiday, it is far better to try and reach an agreement with the employee to either accommodate the request for leave or reach agreement that they will work the bank holiday in return for a day in lieu.

Some businesses may offer a higher rate of pay for employees working on a bank holiday as an incentive. This will only be a right of the employee if provided for in the contract or agreed in advance.

Monzo Bank has reported that it will be offering its employees the opportunity to use their bank holiday entitlement on other days that are more meaningful to them. Whilst this is a supportive step as it accommodates for those who do not celebrate religious holidays, if your business is thinking about following suit, it is important to ensure that the employee’s opt out of the usual bank and public holidays is well documented and any changes to their contract of employment should be agreed in writing.

Ensuring you have clear and concise employment contracts, and a holiday policy will be a useful tool in preventing and resolving any annual leave issues.

Please get in touch if you are thinking about updating your contracts of employment or policies.


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