HR considerations of the King’s Coronation

  • Business Advice
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

On Saturday 6 May 2023, the Coronation of King Charles III will take place, followed by an additional bank holiday on Monday 8 May 2023 to mark the occasion. Whilst this will be a time of celebrations for many, there are several HR considerations to prepare for.

Whether the business will be open on the day of the coronation will likely be a big question for those who work on Saturdays. Some might decide to close, perhaps because they expect there will be reduced trade. Should this apply, employers should ensure there is enough time to enforce annual leave or agree that they will place the employee on paid leave for the day. Reducing or removing pay entirely could lead to unlawful deductions from wages, breach of contract and even constructive dismissal claims.

This being said, many will continue to operate as normal. If this is the case, it’s useful to communicate in advance that employers are expected to come into work at their usual time and prepare to complete their usual duties. However, to keep morale and productivity high, employers may wish to allow staff to come in casual dress (or even Royal dress!) and consider providing extra snacks and treats. Running incentives, such as an early finish, can also boost performance and motivate staff to go the extra mile.

Those working on-site may also ask if they can watch the coronation live, either on TV or on other devices. Employers have discretion to decide whether or not to allow this. You may be able to organise a showing of the ceremony at work either in a common room or by allowing employees to watch it from their desks if there are TV screens around the workplace. It's important to note that you will need a TV licence registered at the workplace if you are to show it on TV.

You could also agree with employees that they take longer breaks and make the time up later or on another day, or change their start, finish and break times so that they can watch it. If it isn't feasible to watch the ceremony, you may agree to have the radio on and listen to the proceedings instead, so they can still be involved with the festive atmosphere.

In England and Wales, the government has also relaxed alcohol licensing laws for the weekend of the coronation, so many hospitality businesses may want to take advantage of the extra trading times. But, it’s important to check employee contracts to see whether you are able to require staff to work for longer.

If your contracts state that employees may be required to work overtime or extra hours, or may be subject to a rota change, then it may be a reasonable instruction to require them to work extra hours, though you should take individual circumstances into consideration first, like childcare issues. You’ll also need to make sure that employees don’t work for more than the maximum weekly hours, which is 48 hours, unless an opt-out agreement has been signed.

Finally, you should also review contracts to understand employees’ entitlements to a day off on the extra bank holiday. If the contracts provides for “all bank holidays,” you may be in breach if you fail to allow paid time off. But, if bank holidays are capped at 8 days per holiday year, there won’t be a contractual requirement to give this extra day.

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