Does an employer have to give pay and time off?
It is a common misconception that the Royal Wedding Public Holiday means time off work and holiday pay for everyone employed in the UK. However, as 29th April 2011 has been set as a special public holiday, it is ultimately up to the employer to determine whether special public and bank holidays (e.g. the Royal Wedding or the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012) will be treated in the same way as the usual bank and public holidays (e.g. Christmas Day and May Day Bank Holiday). The employer will determine this by reference to the contract of employment.
The employer is not, by law, required to give paid or unpaid time off or offer extra pay for any special public or bank holidays if it is not set down in the employment contract. This means that if the contract of employment (or particulars of employment) does not consider any special public holidays (such as the Royal Wedding) to be normal public holidays, it is up to the discretion of the employer as to whether to give time off or extra pay.
In this package we have included guidance notes on what employers need to consider when establishing whether the employee has the right to treat the Royal Wedding as a normal public/bank holiday. We also highlight what an employer might want to consider when asking staff to work on 29th April 2011, as this can have an adverse impact on staff morale or the reputation of the company.
In order to avoid any misunderstandings, businesses should clearly communicate well in advance what their policy is in respect of the Royal Wedding day. This month, Simply-Docs will publish two letter templates that can be used for a hardcopy letter or email to employees explaining the employer’s policy. You can use various options in these templates to advise your employees whether or not the Royal Wedding will be treated as a public holiday. No action should be taken without first consulting the employee’s 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.