For most, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is a great excuse to get an extra day off in 2022. But as an employer, you might also be wondering if you absolutely need to allow staff to take this day off.

The government has confirmed an additional four-day bank holiday will take place in June 2022 to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and as an employer, now is the time for you to plan ahead and consider what this means for your employees’ holiday entitlement.

Are my employees entitled to take the day off?

No, actually. Despite popular belief, your employees do not have an automatic right to time off (paid or otherwise) on a bank holiday. This is a general rule and applies to all bank and public holidays. Whether or not your employees will be entitled to the additional bank holiday is entirely dependent upon the wording in their contracts.

You’ll need to have a look at what your employment contracts say and work back from there. Here are some examples of common contract wording.

“25 days holiday per year plus bank holidays”

It would be difficult to argue that staff cannot take the day off for the Queen’s Jubilee. The wording here implies that the bank holiday entitlement is unlimited and therefore there is an implied contractual right to take the time off.

“28 days holiday per year”

Here the wording is silent around bank holidays. In this instance, the employee could book the day off as part of their usual holiday entitlement. However, as there is no increase in the number of days’ entitlement, there is no implied right to take the additional bank holiday day.

“20 days holiday per year plus 8 bank holidays”

Again, this wording is silent as to specific bank holidays. The employee could potentially book the Jubilee off as one of the 8 days they are entitled to. However, this could cause an issue later in the year when they don’t have enough holiday left to cover one of the bank holidays over Christmas. You should make sure employees are aware of this and plan accordingly.

“20 days holiday per year plus New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, Summer Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day”

Here the bank holidays you recognise are listed, so the simple answer is no. Therefore, unless your employees book the Jubilee as part of their normal holiday entitlement or you offer the day as a discretionary day off, they are not entitled to automatically take the day off.

“20 days holiday per year plus the usual bank and public holidays observed in England and Wales”

Again, there is no entitlement here. The Queen’s Jubilee is not ‘usual’ and so there is no right for employees to take this day as holiday.

What have you done previously?

You’ll also need to consider precedent. Previously, the UK enjoyed an additional day off in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, as well as in 2011 when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got married. If you have previously offered these days as paid time off, it would be difficult to argue that you shouldn’t gift the 2022 bank holiday in the same way. Not only will it upset employees if they’ve previously been given additional bank holidays as paid time off, but they might also be able to argue that by you having previously allowed the time, that it is custom and practice, and therefore now a contractual obligation.

Our recommendation for your contracts

As you’ll have seen above, wording in contracts can be vague and lead to confusion. In the interests of protecting your business and providing clarity for your staff, we often advise our clients to include two things in their holiday clauses:

  1. Name the bank and public holidays you recognise in the contract.
  2. Add in a clause that states there is no automatic right for employees to take additional public holidays as time off, and that their taking of the day as holiday will be at the discretion of management. Or, if you’re happy for staff to take it, state this.

Communication is key.

Communication, as ever, is the key to success here. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was announced long in advance of the event, so manage staff expectations right off the bat and let them know where they stand. Send out a communication which clearly tells them whether they will have the day off or not. That way, if they are keen to take the day off still, they can book it from their normal holiday entitlement.

If you have any questions at all, please just give us a shout – we’d be happy to talk you through this or any other queries you have.

In the meantime, check our services as a HR Consultancy Birmingham.

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