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Is the Platinum Jubilee a paid holiday?

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Is the Platinum Jubilee a paid holiday?

In this Jubilee year, the late Spring Bank Holiday in May has moved to Thursday 2 June with an additional Bank Holiday on Friday 3 June to create a long weekend.

While employees may expect to get this as an extra paid holiday, it is not necessarily the case that this will happen automatically.

In this article, Employment Solicitor Chris Dobbs outlines what employers should consider over the Jubilee weekend regarding paid holiday entitlements.

Do you get holiday pay for bank holidays?

There is no automatic right to paid time off on Bank Holidays.

Under UK law, the entitlement is to 5.6 weeks or 28 days. 20 days of this is required under the Working Time Regulations and the other eight represent the equivalent of the eight statutory public holidays.

There is, however, no requirement that these eight days must be the Bank Holidays themselves.

Many businesses close on the eight Bank Holidays and therefore these are treated as paid holiday with staff making up any other entitlement by way of annual leave throughout the year.

Do employers have to give the Jubilee bank holiday?

This will depend on the wording of the employment contract.

There are three fairly common ways of wording holiday entitlement.

Option 1: “20 days paid holiday per year plus bank holidays”

This wording does not limit the bank holidays in any way and so staff with this wording would get the additional day this year either on the day itself or be entitled to it in lieu.

Option 2: “20 days holiday per year plus the usual bank/public holidays in England and Wales”

Using this wording, staff are only entitled to the normal eight public holidays on top of their Working Time Regulations entitlement.

This does not allow for the additional day which has been created this year as it is not a “usual” Bank Holiday and therefore staff would not be entitled to this.

Option 3: “28 days holiday per annum”

This would be assumed to be an absolute limit on the number of days to which staff are entitled per year.

As it allows for at least the minimum entitlement, there would be no extra right here to the additional day.

What if the business closes for the day?

Ideally, if the workplace closes then you should consider giving staff this extra day paid as a gesture of goodwill.

On the bank of events over the last couple of years, this is likely to be a morale booster especially during what is intended to be a period of celebration across the country (weather permitting!).

If that is not possible then staff can be required to take the day as part of their annual leave entitlement, but they must be notified of this in advance.

Jubilee considerations: Advice for employers

Employment Solicitor Chris Dobbs says: “It’s important the same approach is applied across the business to avoid claims of unfairness or even a risk of discriminatory treatment so make sure you:

Don’t forget part-time staff or irregular hours staff if you decide to give the day as an additional paid day off. You should ensure they also get additional time on the pro-rata basis.

Watch out for staff on variable hours who may end up working one day extra if close attention is not kept on their hours/days. This is especially important if most staff work during the week but variable hours staff may also work weekends.”

What should we do now?

  • Check contracts to work out what you can do
  • Decide based on that what you want to do
  • Communicate the decision to staff well in advance of the first week of June

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