Understanding employees’ entitlements for the extra Jubilee Bank Holiday

13 May 2022

As I am sure you will all be aware, we have an extra long bank holiday weekend coming up at the beginning of June. The normal late May bank holiday has been moved to Thursday 2 June, with a further one-off bank holiday diarised for Friday 3 June, creating a four-day weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

This has created quite a headache for employers, with many employees already having grand plans for the long weekend. The legal position in terms of entitlements for the extra bank holiday are not quite so straightforward, and it is important for employers and employees to understand their actual entitlement before plans are set in stone.

Whether or not an employee is entitled to the extra day off will depend upon the wording of their contract of employment. Where their holiday entitlement is expressed as including or additional to the “usual 8 bank holidays in England and Wales” (or similar wording), they will not be entitled to the additional day as it is not covered by the contract. It is at the discretion of the employer in this case whether to allow the additional bank holiday to be taken as leave.

However, where the contract is more vague and simply includes or adds “bank/public holidays” on to the holiday entitlement, then this additional bank holiday will be covered by the broad term and the employee will be entitled to take the extra day’s leave.

The same principle applies to part-time employees, whose entitlements will depend upon the wording of their contracts. Where part-time workers will be set to miss out on the benefit of the additional day’s leave as a result of not normally working on that day, they may need their entitlement adjusting to avoid any claims that they are being treated less favourably than their colleagues on grounds of being part-time.

Understanding the legal position is only half of the consideration. It is likely that many employees will expect to be off for the whole four-day weekend without knowing they are not entitled to be. Given that many other businesses will be allowing or be required to allow employees to take the day as leave, businesses should consider whether to use discretion for this one-off occasion to maintain staff morale and avoid aspersions being cast about fair treatment. It will also be important to communicate the position at an early stage.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require any further advice on employee entitlements.

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