Are your staff entitled to this year’s extra bank holiday?

Alan Price – Chief Operations Officer

April 06 2022

It’s the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year. This means 2022 is unleashing a four-day weekend in celebration of Her Majesty’s 70-year reign - the longest of any monarch in history.

The pressing question on everyone’s mind: what does this mean for bank holidays? After all, they say ‘royal celebration’ and we hear ‘extra holiday’.

To accommodate the Jubilee, the late May bank holiday - which would fall on Monday 30th May - will now move to Thursday 2nd June. The additional bank holiday will be on Friday 3rd June.

Do all staff have a right to an extra day off in the name of the monarchy? Or can they remain in work? Here’s what you need to know…

The answer is in the wording

Your employees have the right to 5.6 weeks (28 days) of yearly paid holiday at a minimum. This might include, exclude or be on top of bank holidays – depending on their contract.

For full-time employees, statutory holiday entitlement often includes 20 days’ holiday and eight bank holidays – but this isn’t always the case.

You might need staff to work during bank holidays and take those equivalent eight days off at other points throughout the year.

To find out whether your employee is entitled to take off all, some or zero bank holidays, you need to check the wording in their contract. The wording you use in a contract is important – even the slightest word variation will determine your employee’s rights at work.

Can my employees take an extra bank holiday?

Your contract wording might be clear. If it says your employee is ‘entitled to all bank holidays’, they can take every bank holiday off – even if dates move or new ones pop up.

If it doesn’t say that, look out for these common examples:

‘20 days holiday, plus bank holidays’

If the contract doesn’t specify the number of bank holidays your employee can have off, they can take them all. This includes any additional public holidays, like the Jubilee.

‘20 days holiday, plus 8 bank holidays’

The contract might specify the number of bank holidays your employee can take off or even list the bank holiday dates. This might be the registered eight bank holidays you can find on the GOV.UK website – or a select few. In either case, your employee is unlikely to have the allowance to cover the extra day. So, they wouldn’t be entitled.

’Your annual holiday entitlement (inclusive of bank and public holidays) is 28 days’

The contract might specify the amount of holiday entitlement your employee has to take - inclusive of bank holidays. If their allowance is the statutory minimum of 28 days, your employee probably won’t have the allowance to cover the extra day. 28 days will typically factor in just the standard eight bank holidays.

Look out for words like ‘in addition to’ or ‘included’. This will be a big indicator of entitlement.

Take a closer look at the wording…

To throw a curveball, your contract might say your employee is ‘entitled to the Late May or Spring Bank Holiday’. Now this day has moved to June, there may be some confusion.

If your contract mentions the ‘Spring Bank Holiday’, your employee will need to take leave on the new date (2nd June) instead of the last Monday in May.

Or, if your contract says your employee is ‘entitled to the last Monday in May’, then they may have to stick to the usual date - even if it’s moved. If you want to change this, you’d need to make an agreement with your employee to amend the contract.

This doesn’t relate to the additional bank holiday for the Jubilee, so your employee’s entitlement will again depend on contract wording.

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I need to my staff in work but they’re entitled to a day off... 

You might not be able to close on an extra bank holiday. If you’re in the hospitality sector, you might lose out by shutting at such a busy time. If you need staff in work but they’re entitled to the extra day off, you’d need to change staff employment contracts or give them a day in lieu.

My employee is refusing to work on the extra bank holiday...

If your employee isn’t contractually entitled to take off the extra bank holiday, they’ll need to book the day off as annual leave. And if you can’t give time off on this date, you’ll need to provide a solid business reason – for example, if you won’t have enough staff to cover the shift.

If they still refuse to work, you should treat this as a disciplinary matter.

What if I want to close for the day but staff are due to work?

If the contract doesn’t entitle your employees to the extra day off but you want to close your company, you’ve got two options:

  1. Give staff the extra paid holiday.
  2. Request staff take the day out of their annual leave.

If you choose the second option, you’ll need to provide at least two days’ notice. You should also include this rule in your employment contracts and handbooks.

What if my staff all book off bank holidays?

Staff are likely to be brimming with ideas on how to make the absolute most out of a long bank holiday weekend and will probably try to book days off around it.

If you want your staff in work, they’re likely to bombard you with holiday requests even more. So, it’s important you have efficient HR software set up to help you keep track of them all. Plus, your software can flag up clashes if too many people have requested a particular day.

The last thing you need is to approve a ton of holiday requests and step into an empty workplace.

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How do I choose who to award holiday to?

It’s a tricky one. You don’t want your employees to accuse you of favouritism, but you can’t give everyone the holiday, or you’ll have no staff in.

A good holiday policy will solve this. With a holiday policy, your employees know your process for approving and rejecting holiday requests upfront. If they know you allocate holidays on a first come first serve basis, they can’t accuse you of being unfair.

Should I give my employees the extra bank holiday?

Even if you don’t have to give your staff an extra bank holiday this year, you might want to consider it. Giving staff an extra day off will improve employee relations and morale.

Plus, it’s a way to show your appreciation. Employees who feel happy about the company they work for are usually willing to go the extra mile and contribute to its success. So, it’s a good idea to keep this in mind when making that final decision.

Need to review your contract?

Maybe you want to give staff time off, but they’re not entitled to it. Maybe they are entitled to it, but you need them in. Either way, it might be time to update your employment contracts.

Whether you need professional HR advice or someone to review your employment contracts, your 24/7 contract experts are on hand to offer unlimited HR support.

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