On Friday 3 June 2022, there will be an extra Bank Holiday granted to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The usual May Bank Holiday has been moved forward to Thursday 2 June 2022 resulting in a four-day weekend for those able to take time off.
The general rule is that employees do not have an automatic right to a day off work when this or any other Bank Holiday is announced. Employers will need to review their contract of employment to determine if an employee is entitled to a day off work and to be paid for it.
Some contracts of employment will state that the employee is entitled to a certain number of days of annual leave, “plus bank holidays”. In this case, they will be entitled to the additional Bank Holiday off work.
Other contracts of employment state that the employee is entitled to a set number of days of annual leave, but do not mention Bank Holidays. In this scenario, the employee will not be automatically entitled to the additional Bank Holiday off work.
Some employment contracts provide the employee with a set number of days of annual leave “plus eight Bank Holidays”. Again, this will mean that the employee is not automatically entitled to the additional Bank Holiday off work.
If the contract states “you are entitled to XX days holidays plus the usual bank holidays in England and Wales” again this would not give the worker an automatic right to the additional Bank Holiday because the addition Jubilee day is not a “usual” bank holiday
Employers will need to review their employees’ contracts of employment to see whether all of them, some of them, or none of them are entitled to take the Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday off of work.
Where employees do not have a contractual right to the additional Bank Holiday, employers will need to consider if they wish to grant the day’s leave as a gesture of goodwill, if they will require employees to attend work or if they will give employees a day off in lieu of the Bank Holiday due to staffing requirements.
Whilst it is important to comply with the letter of the contract of employment or work, the additional Bank Holiday can also be a morale booster for staff. You may consider granting employees an additional day’s holiday for the Jubilee as an act of goodwill, stressing of course the reason for it being allowed as a one-off gesture.