Bank holidays - know your rights - British Florist Association

Bank holidays – know your rights

Bank holidays are synonymous with May. However this year with the additional Bank Holiday for the Coronation of King Charles III, we seem to have more 4 day weeks than 5 day weeks. Do you know how you should manage this additional bank holiday (and pay) in your business?

We have received lots of queries around the entitlement for the coming Bank holiday weekends, so let’s look at those frequently asked questions and explain the answers so you know where you stand. 

Are employees automatically entitled to the additional bank holiday?

The legal entitlement to this additional bank holiday depends on the wording of the employee’s contract. Employees do not have an automatic right to paid time off on a bank holiday and there is no statutory obligation on an employer to allow their workforce time off because this day has been chosen as a bank holiday. 
In simple terms, just because the government has announced it, this does not mean that employers must give employees time off. Most contracts of employment will specify the particular bank holidays they observe whereas others may simply say they are entitled to all bank holidays without specifying days. 

What does the contract say and what does this mean?

As you know, the legal minimum holiday entitlement for a full time employee working 5 or 6 days is 28 days or 5.6 weeks, however, in some contracts, this may include, exclude or be additional to bank holidays. 

Let’s clear up the confusion, let’s explain the contractual wording and bring clarity to whether this means employees are entitled to the time off or not.

“20 days holiday per annum plus bank holidays”
Yes. As the wording in the contract is not limited to the normal/usual bank holidays observed in England and Wales, therefore there is a contractual entitlement to time off on all bank holidays – including any additional ones. 

“28 days holiday per annum”
Potentially. The wording here makes the contract silent on bank holidays, which means the employee can book days off using their 28-day holiday allowance including any bank holidays both usual and additional.

“20 days holiday per annum plus 8 bank/public holidays”
Potentially. Similar to the previous, if the contract is silent on which bank holidays are included within the employee’s entitlement this could mean the employee can book the additional bank holiday as time off. However, this does mean that the employer will not be entitled to one of the later bank holidays later in the year.
We recommend that employers clarify this with their employers at the time of booking annual leave.

“20 days holiday per annum plus New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, Summer Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day”
When a list of bank holidays is presented within the contract this means employees are only entitled to receive paid time off on those bank holidays listed. However, employees with such wording on their contracts will be entitled to the bank holiday referred to as ‘Spring Bank Holiday’.

What are the entitlements for part-time employees?

Part-time employees who do normally work on Fridays may ask for this additional day off if their full-time colleagues are granted it. It is advised for consistency to offer part-time employees the equivalent holiday on a pro-rata basis

Key points for employers

In recent years we have enjoyed additional bank holidays, therefore when you consider whether to allow employees paid time off this year, we would recommend considering what has been done previously as deviation from this may cause a negative reaction from employees.
We also recommend unless it is not possible for business reasons, that employers as a gesture of goodwill allow their employees to take the additional bank holiday or provide the time off in lieu.

Whatever you decide, try to communicate to all staff as soon as possible, if you have not done so already and confirm it in writing.

The answer to all these problems is to make sure that your contracts are clear and holiday entitlement is clear. There are many variations of wording employers can use within their contracts, so what we recommend is that an open conversation is conducted with all employees to make it clear what their entitlement is.

For those looking for contract of employment please go to the members area.

Our thanks to HR4UK for the information.

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