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Employee Rights re. the Jubilee Bank Holiday

February 2022

This year, the Government has announced an extra bank holiday, on Friday 3 June, to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. In addition, the late May bank holiday has been moved to Thursday 2 June. Whilst this sounds like good news for employees, the question of how to treat the extra bank holiday may be problematic for employers.

Most employees will assume that they will be given the bank holiday automatically but, depending on the wording of the employee contract, that is not necessarily the case. Employers need to start planning now to avoid possible staffing issues later in the year.

2022 bank holidays

In a normal year, there are eight bank holidays a year in England and Wales (nine in Scotland). In 2022, however, there are nine bank holidays in England and Wales, falling on the following days:

Monday 3 January;

Friday 15 April;

Monday 18 April;

Monday 2 May;

Thursday 2 June (instead of Monday 30 May);

Friday 3 June (Platinum Jubilee bank holiday);

Monday 29 August;

Monday 26 December; and

Tuesday 27 December (substitute bank holiday: 25 December is a Sunday).

What are employers' obligations in respect of the extra bank holiday?

As stated above, this will depend largely on what the employment contract says and employees do not have an automatic right to paid time off on a bank holiday.

Broadly speaking, if the employment contract states that the employee has an entitlement to a certain number of days’ annual holiday plus bank holidays, then it follows that the employee is automatically entitled to the extra bank holiday.

If the employee is entitled to, say, 5.6 weeks of annual leave inclusive of bank holidays, the employee is entitled to the extra bank holiday but this has to come out of the consolidated holiday entitlement.

If, however, the employee’s employment contract states that the employee is entitled to a specified number of days’ holiday plus eight bank holidays, then they are not automatically entitled to the additional bank holiday.

Even if an employer is not contractually obliged to grant the extra day as leave, they may choose to do so as a goodwill gesture to employees.

Do employees have a statutory right to extra pay for working on bank holidays?

There is no statutory right to extra pay, such as time and a half or double time, when an employee works on a bank holiday. Any right to extra pay depends on the wording of the employment contract. Employees are not entitled to be paid a higher rate than normal for working on a bank holiday, unless this is provided for in the contract.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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