This year it is the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the first time any British monarch has reigned for this long. In celebration, the Government has designated an additional bank holiday. The end of May bank holiday will be moved to Thursday 2 June, with an additional bank holiday on Friday 3 June, creating a four-day weekend.
But what does that mean for employers?
Do I have to give the extra bank holiday off?
Whether you are obliged to give an additional day off will depend on how your contract is written. If your employees have a contract that separates out holiday and bank holidays, and says something like “28 days holiday plus bank holidays” then you will need to give the extra day, as the implication is that you will give all bank holidays off, regardless of how many there are in any given year.
If the contract specifies how many bank holidays you will give, for example eight if you are in England, then you will not be obliged to give the additional day. If that’s the case, and you choose to close on the additional bank holiday, you could take this out of employees’ annual leave entitlement as long as you give them notice that you will be doing so.
If your employees work on bank holidays anyway as your business is open, then you don’t have to give an extra day off.
Should I give the extra bank holiday off?
Assuming you don’t have to give an extra day, should you do so? We would encourage you to participate if you possibly can. There is a cost to businesses, obviously, in terms of paid time off. However, refusing to give time off when it will feel like the whole country is doing so, with celebratory events happening, and hopefully good weather too, will also come at a cost. Employees are very likely to resent it and it will harm goodwill and engagement, which is clearly linked to performance. There’s also a risk that employees will ring in sick if, for example, they have family plans over the long weekend.
In a climate where recruitment is challenging and many employers are rightly focusing on retaining good employees to avoid having to recruit, this kind of thing is likely to be a factor if someone is wavering and considering moving on. So, if you can manage to give the time off, it is sensible to do so.
What should I do about part timers?
It’s important that part time staff are not treated less favourably than full time staff. This means that if you are increasing full timers’ holiday this year to reflect the additional bank holiday, you should recalculate part timers’ holiday this year based on the higher figure. For example, if you normally offer 28 days to full timers, including bank holidays, someone working 3 days a week would normally get 3/5 of that, which is 16.8 days, rounded up to 17.
If you do the same calculation based on 29 days, 3/5 is 17.4 days, which you’d round up to 17.5. The alternative to doing a new calculation is to just give part timers the extra whole day.
What if someone doesn’t work on a Thursday/Friday?
If someone doesn’t normally work on these days, what you should do is give alternative time off instead, perhaps the nearest working day/s or just add it to their holiday entitlement.
If you’d like any more advice about managing bank holidays in your business, do get in touch.