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Queen’s Jubilee holiday – advice for employers

We have an extra bank holiday in 2022. Great news for many of us, but it could be a headache for employers, an HR expert has told us.

The extra bank holiday is confirmed to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The second May bank holiday will be pushed back to Thursday 2 June, and the bonus bank holiday will follow on the Friday.

Tracey Hudson from The HR Dept contacted us to offer some advice to employers about how this extra holiday fits into their existing annual leave.

“It’s rare that we are granted an extra bank holiday, and because of that, some employers will be in uncharted waters when it comes to processing that holiday time.

“The answers can normally be found in your employment contracts. In the UK, there’s no automatic right to paid time off for a bank holiday, or indeed enhanced pay if they must work.

“If your employment contracts describe the annual leave entitlement as a set number of days plus bank holidays, then contractually your staff are entitled to the extra day off. However, if the contract just states a total number of days off, or specifically enumerates eight bank holidays then they are not.

“That said, if it suits your business, you may be prepared to just give them the extra time off in the spirit of the celebrations. If you don’t, you may have a disgruntled team on your hands.

“Some employers will face slightly more complex issues. Nevertheless, well-worded contracts will still normally guide you.

“For example, if your business operates on bank holidays and you need the staff, you can write your contracts to reflect this. You’d grant at least the 28 minimum days off, but state that this does not include bank holidays and they are required to work on these days. Then if they want to take a bank holiday off, they can put in a request which can be accepted or denied as you wish. Conversely, you could also word your contract to insist that bank holidays are taken as holiday.

“If your current contract wording does not suit your plans, don’t forget that you cannot unilaterally change it without your employees’ agreement.”

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