As we enter the month of May, your employees may be looking forward to having two ‘short weeks’ because of the two Bank Holidays: early May Bank Holiday and Spring Bank Holiday.

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding Bank Holiday entitlement. These can leave employers confused about what they should give, and employees unsure of what they should receive. So here are three useful facts about Bank Holidays…

Fact #1: Part-timers could miss out on their full entitlement to Bank Holidays.

This can happen because most public holidays fall on either a Monday or a Friday.

To ensure fairness, employers can calculate a part-time employee’s pro-rata holiday entitlement in hours and then pro-rata their Bank Holiday entitlement too.

If a Bank Holiday falls on a normal working day for the employee and they wish to take it off, the employee would have to book it as annual leave.

Fact #2: The government can declare an extra Bank Holiday to mark a special occasion

This is what happened on the wedding day of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

So does this mean you have to give everyone the day off?

It depends on the contracts of employment you give to your workers. If the contract states that employees will get all Bank Holidays off, then you have to keep to your word.

On the other hand, if the contract lists the eight Bank Holidays that employees can take off, then you don’t have to give them the extra holiday.

It’s worth pointing out that the government hasn’t given an extra Bank Holiday for Prince Harry’s wedding.

Fact #3: Instead of the calendar year, you can use the April to March leave year.

While many employers choose to do this, there is one problem: Easter.

The Easter Bank Holidays don’t always fall in the same month. This means that when Easter falls in April one year, and March the following year, the leave year will have 10 Bank Holidays. And in other leave years, there will only be six Bank Holidays.

To get around this, put a clause into your contracts that regulates the number of Bank Holidays that you’ll give when this happens. This will prevent you going below the legal minimum.