The coronation of Charles III and Queen Camilla will take place on Saturday 6th May 2023 at Westminster Abbey. To mark the occasion, Monday 8th May will be a national bank holiday in the UK, and this may leave employers wondering whether they are required to grant employees an additional day’s paid leave. The answer? Well, as always, the devil is in the detail.
The statutory position
There is no statutory right for workers to receive paid leave on bank holidays. The Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) simply state that full-time workers should receive 5.6 weeks’ paid leave per year. It is then up to employers to decide whether workers are entitled to have bank holidays off automatically and whether to include bank holidays in the 5.6 weeks entitlement. This needs to be clearly set out in the employment contract.
The contractual position
Employers will need to check the wording of their employment contracts to determine whether workers are automatically entitled to the additional bank holiday on 8th May. If the holiday clause allows employees to have “all bank holidays” or states that their holiday entitlement will be “plus bank holidays” or “in addition to bank holidays” then this will include the additional bank holiday on 8th May (or a day in lieu if the contract stipulates that).
However, if the contract refers to “the usual” bank holidays or “8 bank holidays” or the contract is completely silent on bank holiday entitlement, then the workers will not be entitled to the extra bank holiday and it will be at the discretion of the employer to grant the additional day of paid leave.
If employees do not have a contractual entitlement to paid time off on the additional bank holiday, but the business decides to close for the day, there are two options. Employers could either:
- allow employees to have this as an extra paid day off, as a gesture of goodwill; or
- require employees to take this off as a holiday. In this case, employers should write to their employees, in advance, to confirm that this day must be taken as holiday and that it will be deducted from their overall annual entitlement. They will need to be given at least 2 days’ prior notice in accordance with the WTR.
For businesses not closing on the additional bank holiday, communications should be sent to employees, in advance, to confirm that if they wish to take the day off, a holiday request must be submitted in the usual way.
This is only intended to be a summary and not specific legal advice. If you would like further information or advice, please do contact a member of our team.