24th November 2010


 Issue No.  2010/28



  “What a Right Royal to do?” 

With all the recent media attention, you could not have missed the announcement that Prince William is to marry Kate Middleton.  Yesterday, it was announced that the wedding is to be held at Westminster Abbey on the 29th April 2010.
David Cameron immediately announced that the 29th April 2010 is to become a bank holiday, which has caused some business leaders to voice concern about the Government giving an extra bank holiday during this time of continuing economic uncertainty.  It has also caused us to think, are we still in the situation where nobody in government thinks about the practical implications on business?
The timing of this additional bank holiday may be problematic to businesses because of the proximity to other bank holidays:   

Good Friday
 22 April
Easter Monday
 25 April
Royal wedding (Friday)
 29 April
Early May Bank Holiday (Monday)
 2 May

Some employees might request the 3 days in-between (i.e. 26th – 28th April) to provide them with a long break encompassing four bank holidays – so you might want to think about how you manage requests for time off during this period.  You should also consider the potential for sickness absence during those three days by those who are refused leave – or is that cynicism on my part?  And yes, this does happen regularly – we can advise on how to be pro-active on this which will hopefully minimise the impact.
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee - 2012
You may also remember that there is to be an additional bank holiday in 2012 to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  This additional Bank Holiday will be Tuesday June 5th 2012.  The late May bank holiday is to be moved to Monday June 4th to create a long week-end break.
The good news is - an employer is not obliged to recognise Bank Holidays unless they fall within the ambit of The Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 which regulates Bank Holidays or the terms of their Contract of Employment require them to do so.
Although many employers will give employees time off work on bank and public holidays, the employer is not required by law to allow employees time off work on these days. If an employer does give workers the time off, they do not have to pay for this time off.
Workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid holiday entitlement that can include any bank/public holidays recognised by the Employer.
What is more often the case is that the 8 regular bank holidays are granted but are within the total amount of time off for holidays under the Contract of Employment.  Therefore Employers need to look at their Terms and Conditions of Employment which, dependent upon the wording, will determine whether they need to recognise the additional bank holiday.
Some examples: 
  1. Care/residential homes or other organisations that are operational 24/7 may not recognise bank holidays, but allow the employees to take their statutory 5.6 weeks (or enhanced) annual holiday entitlement at any time throughout the holiday year.  Therefore if an employee wishes to take the day off (for the Royal wedding), then they would need to book the day off in accordance with the employers holiday booking procedures.
  2. The Contract may provide a holiday entitlement (for full time workers) of 20 days plus 8 bank holidays (the bank holidays may or may not be specified) – therefore there is no obligation on the Employer to recognise the additional (ninth) bank holiday – there is no contractual entitlement to nine bank holidays. 
  3. If an Employer intends to close on the day of the additional bank holiday, the Employer could require the employee to reserve a day from their annual holiday entitlement to take on that date, providing they give appropriate notice in accordance with the Working Time Regulations.
  4. If however, the contract provides that the Company recognises and closes on ALL Bank Holidays (does not specify 8 Bank Holidays or which Bank Holidays are recognised), then contractually, the employer is bound to recognise the additional Bank Holiday.
  5. Ignoring all of the above, if the Employer is prepared to grant all employees the additional bank holiday with pay, please note: that what you do in 2011 could set a precedent to follow for the 2012 Additional Bank Holiday. 
The above examples are not exhaustive and do not cover every eventuality;  therefore if you need specific advice relating to your own Terms and Conditions and whether you are required to recognise the additional bank holidays – please seek advice.  For members entitled to use our advice service this will of course be freely available.




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