This weekend will see the Coronation of King Charles III, the first such event for more than 70 years.
For some employers the bank holiday declared on Monday 8th May raises the tricky question of whether the day is already covered by their contracts of employment or whether they need to plan for their employees to work, be paid in lieu or take the day off.
The intention in having the long weekend is to allow the nation to spend it with their family, take part in community parties and public events. However, as with all such events many will nonetheless be working and as the occasion falls in the same month as two pre-existing bank holidays, to say nothing of the ongoing strikes, employers are facing a month of significant disruption.
There is no legal requirement for bank holidays to be given as additional paid leave. This additional one could therefore be fertile grounds for potential discord between employers and their workers over whether to allow for another paid day off.
Employers should be looking closely at their employment contracts and checking to see whether staff want the day off, to come into work and decide for themselves whether the business wants to close for the day.
Entitlement to bank holidays will be subject to the employment contract and as there are many different ways these reference bank holidays so it is vital to check.
Someone working a five-day week must be given 28 days of paid annual leave a year, the equivalent of 5.6 weeks of holiday. The calculation is pro-rated for those working part-time or irregular hours.
Some contracts of employment refer to the inclusion of the bank holidays within the 28 days, and others may state that bank holidays are in addition, so “20 days plus the usual bank holidays.” Therefore, for this year’s unique additional public holiday identifying whether or not workers are entitled to the day off as paid leave will depend on precisely how their contract is worded.
For example; if a worker’s contract states “20 days holiday plus all public holidays” this would give the worker the right to the extra day of paid leave on top.
Similarly, if the contract stated “28 days of holiday, including all public/bank holidays” the worker would have the right to take the day off, but they would have to deduct it from their overall holiday allowance.
However, if the contract specified the usual number of bank holidays (8), the additional coronation day would not be a contractual right for the worker. This would mean that the worker would have to follow the usual process for requesting holiday.
Conversely, if the employer wanted to close the business this would necessitate asking workers to either take a day’s holiday (if the contract allowed them to do so during a closure) or offering the day off paid as an additional day of holiday. If the employer needs workers to come in but they have the right to take it off, the employer can only ask, not tell, them to do so.
We expect and hope most employers will be liaising closely with their team to ensure that the Coronation weekend allows everyone to enjoy the occasion whether they are working or not.
God Save the King!