Real Living Wage increase and a new holiday in 2022

Taking a break from coronavirus news, attention has turned to two major news reports that recently made headlines in the UK. One being that the Real Living Wage will now be increased for employees of accredited employers and the other, benefitting UK citizens as a whole, highlights a possible new bank holiday coming in 2022. We explore these below.

Real Living Wage

Not to be confused with the compulsory National Living Wage (NLW), the Real Living Wage is voluntarily paid by nearly 7000 UK businesses and is based on calculations of the cost of living, carried out by the Living Wage Foundation.

The Foundation recently announced that the new rates to be paid in 2020/21 by accredited employers is £9.50 an hour for UK citizens except those in London who will now receive £10.85. A full-time worker paid the new £9.50 Real Living Wage will receive over £1500 in additional wages annually, compared to the current Government minimum. For a full-time worker in London, this figure rises to over £4000

'Employers should implement the rise as soon as possible and within six months,' the Foundation explained. 'All employees should receive the new rate by 9th May the following year.'

Bank Holiday 2022

The Queen’s 70th anniversary as monarch is to be celebrated by an extensive programme of public events taking place over a four-day Bank Holiday weekend in June 2022. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has announced that the May Bank Holiday will be moved to Thursday 2 June with an additional Bank Holiday on Friday 3 June.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: 'We can all look forward to a special, four-day Jubilee weekend, when we will put on a spectacular, once-in-a-generation show that mixes the best of British ceremonial splendour with cutting edge art and technology. It will bring the entire nation and the Commonwealth together in a fitting tribute to Her Majesty’s reign.' Activity will build across 2022 in the run up to the four-day weekend, he went on, when the eyes of the world will turn to the UK.

There are things that employers should keep in mind with regards to how this 2022 Bank Holiday arrangement relates to employment law. Firstly, although the additional Bank Holiday will apply to the whole of the UK, there is still no statutory right for employers to grant their staff time off; this will depend on the employee’s contract of employment. If an employee does work on a bank holiday, there is also no statutory obligation on employers to pay them extra for doing so, unless the employee’s contract stipulates otherwise.

Employers will need to communicate with staff to ensure that the company’s position on the days that they are required to work is made clear, with regards to the Bank Holiday moving to 2 June. The wording of an employee’s contract will be pivotal to how employers manage the situation as it will dictate whether employees can expect an additional day off for the extra Bank Holiday, or whether it restricts Bank Holiday entitlement to the usual 8 days.

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