The sun is starting to shine, the flowers are well and truly in bloom, and communities around the UK are preparing to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. On 3rd June 2022, many will be enjoying an additional bank holiday (and the usual late May bank holiday has been moved to 2nd June 2022 to create a 4-day weekend). We have recently been asked whether workers are automatically entitled to take the additional bank holiday as 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 3rd June. 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 3rd June (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.
It is likely that many employers will be granting the additional day as a good morale boost. However, alternatively, an employer could request that employees use a day of their annual leave if they intend to close premises but do not want to grant an additional day of paid leave. In that case an employer will need to give at least 2 days prior notice in accordance with the WTR.
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.