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Is your business ready for this year's extra bank holiday?

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On Friday 3rd June 2022 there will be an additional bank holiday to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This will result in a 4-day bank holiday weekend, as the date of the usual Spring bank holiday has moved to Thursday 2nd June.

The additional bank holiday applies in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, meaning millions of employees will benefit from an extra day off work.

If you’re an employer, it’s important to consider how the practicalities of this extra bank holiday may affect your business.

Do you offer bank holidays to your employees?

By law, businesses do not have to offer their employees bank holidays (unless they are included within employees’ statutory entitlement). However, while some industries require people to work on bank holidays, many employees expect to have bank holidays off.

Your approach to bank holidays should be clearly stated as part of your annual leave policies. In the coming weeks you may wish to remind your staff what your policy is; this could be different depending on whether they are full time or part time staff.

How are your staff entitled to bank holidays?

A full-time employee is entitled to 28 days annual leave each year. The traditional 8 bank holidays can be included within this entitlement, or offered in addition to it. This is important to consider when calculating staff entitlement to the extra bank holiday i.e. will the additional bank holiday result in your full-time workers having 29 days off or up to 37?

How are bank holidays covered in your employees’ contract of employment?

An employee’s contract of employment should provide clarity as to whether or not he/she is entitled to the extra bank holiday in 2022. For example:

  • If the contract states the employee is entitled to ‘20 days holiday plus bank holidays’, he/she will be entitled to the extra bank holiday. This is because the number of bank holidays has not been specified.
  • If the contract states ‘28 days or 5.6 weeks, including bank holidays’ the employee will not be entitled to the extra bank holiday. This is because the total number of days has been specified.
  • If the contract states ‘20 days holiday plus 8 bank holidays’, the employee is not entitled to the extra bank holiday as, once again, the number of days holiday has been specified. Note that in Scotland, this would be ‘20 days holiday plus 9 bank holidays’, as there is already an additional bank holiday in Scotland.

Of course, you may choose to give employees the extra bank holiday even if you are not contractually obliged to do so. If in doubt, seek professional advice from your HR or employment law advisor.

Ensure part-time workers are treated fairly.

As with all bank holiday calculations, you’ll need to make sure you address the potential for unfairly treating some part-time employees, as required by the Part Time Worker Regulations 2000.

Most bank holidays fall on Mondays, so a part-time worker who usually worked on Mondays would be treated more favourably than a part-time worker who did not work Mondays if they could take bank holidays but their colleague could not. Giving part-time workers a pro rata entitlement to bank holidays is an effective way to deal with this issue.

This year’s Spring and Jubilee bank holidays fall on a Thursday and Friday respectively, so you’ll need to ensure that any part-time staff not due to work on those days receive a fair amount of time off if other part-time employees who were due to work will have the forthcoming two bank holidays off.

Dealing with holiday requests.

Many employees will want to make the most of the 4-day weekend, perhaps by tagging on additional time off, so don’t be surprised if you receive an influx of holiday requests over the coming weeks.

Be up front and proactive by making sure your employees understand the rules concerning annual leave so that people are not disappointed when their requested holiday dates clash with those of other staff who have already asked to take time off.

Expert employment law advice in Calderdale.

For expert advice on all aspects of employment law including contractual matters, settlement agreements, disciplinary and grievance issues, discrimination, unfair dismissal and redundancy, please contact James Hodgson or Maureen Cawthorn at our Halifax office on 01422 339600.