Bank holiday headache for employers?

Year Published: 2012

Preparations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee street parties may be in full swing; however employers and employees need to be clear about the rules around the extra day off for staff.

The extra day – which is in addition to the existing bank holiday on 4 June – has caused concern among businesses which will have to cover the cost of 24 hours of absent staff, with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) estimating that it will cause a £6bn hit to the UK economy.

Ultimately it comes down to what lies in an employee’s contract of employment. Where the contract simply states that the employee will be entitled to bank holidays in addition to their annual leave, with no specification of which ones or how many, then they are fully entitled to the extra day off. But if the contract lists the number or dates of bank holidays, employees will not be expressly entitled to the extra day’s holiday.

If staff are expecting the day off and they are not going to get it, employers should handle the issue carefully. The impact on morale of disappointed staff could breed larger repercussions than the ones employers were trying to avoid in the first place. Employers need to apply a commercial solution within the legal framework.

For further advice on this or any other employment issue contact a member of the Employment Team.

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