Are you entitled to the additional bank holiday?
Monday 19th September has been announced a National Day of Mourning for the funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth, and an additional Bank Holiday.
But is everyone entitled to this? Our HR consultants have the following advice:
Many organisations will offer their employees time off as a gesture of good will considering the historical significance of the day, however it will be an employer’s decision.
There is no automatic right to time off nor statutory right to extra pay for working on bank holidays, unless stated otherwise in a contract of employment. An example of this would be: “20 days holiday per annum plus bank holidays” – in this case employees will have a contractual entitlement to paid time off on all bank holidays, as this is not limited to normal/usual bank holidays observed and remains silent about the number of bank holidays an employee is entitled to.
A significant factor for employers when deciding what to do will be the impact on employee morale and engagement. At a time of national mourning, this is an opportunity to show respect and empathy for the sadness many employees will be experiencing.
Employers may therefore decide to:
- Inform employees that the business will be closing on the day of the funeral. In this situation, as it is the employer’s decision to close, employees would be entitled to be paid for the day. Employers have the right to require employees to take holiday by giving notice which is at least equivalent to twice the length of the duration of the holiday. Employers could therefore give at least 2 days’ notice to employees that they are required to take the day of the funeral as holiday. However, this is likely to have a significant effect on employee morale and engagement which would need to be given serious consideration given the challenges most employers face regarding employee retention. There could also be potential issues if some employees have already taken or booked their entire entitlement for the holiday year.
- Inform employees that the business will be open but if employees do want to take this day off, they can apply through the usual holiday process and the company will not enforce the usual capacity rules. Therefore, anyone who chooses can take this day off as annual leave. Again, this may have an impact on team morale given the circumstances of this bank holiday are very different from the additional bank holidays of recent years, such as the Jubilee bank holiday.
- Inform employees that the business will be open and for specified business reasons, the usual holiday process and rules on capacity will have to apply to this bank holiday.
Part time employees
The additional bank holiday will mean a recalculation of pro rata time off for part time employees who do not work on Mondays. Employers must ensure that all employees have at least the statutory minimum annual leave entitlement and that part-time employees are not treated less favourably than full-time employees. To avoid a complaint of less favourable treatment, many employers provide part-time employees with a pro-rated bank holiday entitlement.
While there may be no arrangement that will have entirely fair results for all employees whatever their working pattern, one option is to calculate pro-rated bank holiday entitlement according to the number of hours that the part-time employee works, irrespective of whether or not they work on the days on which public holidays fall.
Gov.uk has information on the Period of National Mourning that you may wish to refer to: