The government has declared 19 September 2022, the day of the Queen’s funeral, to be a bank holiday.
There is usually enough time for employers to prepare for bank holidays, but this unexpected bank holiday has left many people across Britain wondering what the implications will be for them – in particular, will they be legally entitled to take the day off work?
Are employees legally entitled to take a day off work?
The bank holiday on 19 September 2022 will operate in the same way as other bank holidays – this means that there is no legal requirement for employers to give staff a day off work.
Whilst there is no statutory entitlement to paid leave on bank holidays, whether an employee is entitled to the day off on Monday will be guided by the contractual arrangements between employer and employee. This is also the case for days off in lieu and/or additional pay when working bank holidays.
Where a contract of employment refers to holiday entitlement being inclusive of public holidays, employers can insist that this additional bank holiday is taken as part of the employee’s current leave year entitlement.
However, where holiday entitlement provides for a set number of days’ holiday allowance plus bank holidays, employers are likely to find themselves needing to pay employees for these additional days’ leave.
Where matters become uncertain is where the contract of employment refers to the “usual bank holidays”. The bank holiday on 19th September 2022 is extra and unexpected, and therefore arguably falls outside of this category. This could leave this bank holiday open to challenge if employers deduct this from an employee’s annual entitlement. Likewise, it provides an argument for the employer not to pay employees for the bank holiday if an employee’s holiday entitlement is “plus the usual bank holidays”.
The interpretation of contractual provisions in employees’ contracts of employment could lead to an employer being exposed to an unlawful deduction of wages claim. Because of this and despite the expense, many employers are likely to give their employees the extra paid holiday for the Queen’s funeral because it is a one-off.
If you require any further information about leave entitlements around the bank holiday, please do not hesitate to contact Gemma Wilson on 0161 833 5689 or [email protected]