King’s Coronation: What time off do you have to give?
Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the Coronation of King Charles III will take place on Saturday 6 May 2023. The Coronation Ceremony will be held at Westminster Abbey in London, where the King will be crowned alongside The Queen Consort.
So, the date has been set, but what we all want to know is: will there be a Bank Holiday to mark the occasion? As the Coronation is taking place on a Saturday, a Bank Holiday won’t be called for that day (when a moveable Bank Holiday falls on a weekend, a substitute day is observed so a new Bank Holiday would never be set for a Saturday). There have been calls from some MPs for the early May Bank Holiday (currently to take place on Monday 1 May 2023) to be moved to Monday 8 May 2023 to create a long weekend or for an extra Bank Holiday to be announced, but there is no confirmation of an extra or moved Bank Holiday at the moment.
Since it’s set to be the first Coronation to take place in 70 years, it will be a once in a lifetime event for many, so employers should prepare for an increase for annual leave requests in the lead up to and on the day itself. Despite it falling on a Saturday, employers who work on weekdays may still want to take time off to travel to London in advance of the ceremony, or to soak up the ongoing celebrations and euphoric atmosphere. Employers may wish to extend their normal annual leave caps, to enable more staff to partake in festivities.
While the traditional Monday-Friday jobs will not be directly affected by the Coronation being on a Saturday, businesses that operate on a Saturday should consider whether they need staff to work and, if so, make any necessary preparations. For example, some may decide to close to give staff the opportunity to watch the ceremony/travel to London or because they don’t think they will be busy.
Choosing to close means that staff who would have worked on that day will be entitled to full pay for the day off, unless the employer can agree that staff take annual leave (employees might stand their ground and not agree to put a request in). However, employers are also able to enforce annual leave, as long as they give the correct notice to do so; this is double the amount of notice for how long you want the employee to take. For example, to enforce one days’ annual leave, 2 days’ advance warning is needed. With months to prepare, employers should be well within their means to require staff to take time off as holiday.
Other employers may be busier than usual, so stipulate that no staff can take annual leave. Where this is the case, employers may consider allowing staff to watch the ceremony, or part of it, while at work, such as by giving longer breaks or allowing breaks to be moved.