Queen’s Funeral Bank Holiday – Employee Rights

As the nation enters a period of national mourning, arrangements are being made for our late Queen’s funeral, Monday 19th September will be a Bank Holiday. Whilst employers will want to make their own decisions about how to mark the occasion, it is important to also consider what rights employees have in relation to this additional bank holiday.

Do employees automatically have the right to the extra bank holiday?

There is no automatic statutory right to paid time off on a bank holiday and therefore an employee’s entitlement will depend on what it says in their contract of employment.

What contract wording would automatically give the employee the right to the additional bank holiday?

If the employee’s contract says that the employee has the right to a certain number of holidays ‘plus bank holidays’ without providing any further details of those holidays, then the employee would have a right to this additional bank holiday.

What if the employment contract states that the employee is entitled to 5.6 weeks ‘inclusive of any bank holidays’?

If their contract says that the employee is entitled to 5.6 weeks ‘inclusive of any bank holidays’, and those bank holidays are not specified, then they will be entitled to take the additional bank holiday, but their overall number of holidays will not increase as the extra bank holiday will have to come off their annual holiday entitlement.

If employees do not have the right to this extra bank holiday, what are my options? 

  • Inform employees that the business will be closing on the day of the funeral. In this situation, as it is the employer’s decision to close, employees would be entitled to be paid for the day.

Employers have the right to require employees to take holiday by giving notice which is at least equivalent to twice the length of the duration of the holiday. Employers could therefore give at least 2 days’ notice to employees that they are required to take the day of the funeral as holiday. This is likely to have a significant effect on employee morale and engagement which would need to be given serious consideration given the challenges most employers face regarding employee retention. There are potential issues if employees have already taken or booked their entire entitlement for the holiday year.

  • Inform employees that the business will be open and for specified business reasons, the usual holiday guidelines will have to apply to this bank holiday.

If you have any questions about how this is likely to affect you and your business please contact us on 01483 362732 or email info@guildford-hr.co.uk

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