Queen Elizabeth II cypher

12/09/2022

A Bank Holiday has been announced to coincide with the day of the Queen’s funeral – Monday 19 September.

As we all progress through this period of national mourning and come to terms with the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, many people will welcome the Bank Holiday and the opportunity to pay their respects.

However, when a Bank Holiday is announced at short notice it can cause problems for employers and we have already received a number of enquiries from both employers and employees on this subject.

To help guide you through, I have set out below some points to explain the effect this additional Bank Holiday could have on employers and employees.

Employees are entitled to a minimum of 28 days’ leave each year (full-time staff).

There is no separate right to time off on Bank Holidays or public holidays.

Some sectors and employers will not close and employees will be required to work unless a holiday is booked.

As long as an employer provides 28 days’ leave, they have complied with the legal minimum.

However, many employers do offer Bank Holidays in addition to a minimum number of days’ leave.

Employee entitlement, therefore, is purely down to the terms set out by the employer in the employment contract.

There are various ways that holiday entitlement is documented in employment contracts but the most common are:

  • 25 days plus bank holidays
  • 20 days plus bank holidays
  • 28 days including the usual bank holidays
  • 28 days including 8 bank holidays

And some contracts actually list the specific bank holidays by name/date.

Where the contract states ‘+ Bank Holidays; and does not specify ‘8 Bank Holidays‘ or ‘usual Bank Holidays’, contractually the employees are entitled to all of the Bank Holidays in the particular year. That means this year those employees will be entitled to two extra Bank Holidays (one for the jubilee in June and one for the funeral).

For employers who have specified in the contract “8 Bank Holidays” or “usual Bank Holidays” or specifically list the Bank Holidays,  the additional Bank Holiday will have no impact.

In those cases, it will be for the employer to decide whether or not they offer an additional day off or if the day has any changes at all.

Given the significance of the day, we expect most employers will give the day off, but it is not a right and is not guaranteed.