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Kerry Eastman

HR Advisor - Uckfield

26th January 2022

Are employees entitled to the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday?

Are employees entitled to the extra Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday in 2022?

What is the extra bank holiday?

In November 2020, the Government announced an extra bank holiday for June 2022 which sees the late May Bank Holiday moved to Thursday, 2 June 2022 with the additional Platinum Jubilee bank holiday falling on Friday, 3 June 2022 – creating a four day weekend for some.

The unique bank holiday aims to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s 70th anniversary as monarch – the first time a British monarch has reached this historic milestone. It applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As we enter 2022, employers need to plan their workforce availability and some employees will be looking to book their holidays in good time – particularly where an employer grants holiday on a “first come first served basis”.

How do I know if employees are entitled to the extra bank holiday?

Entitlement to the extra bank holiday is dependent upon the wording within the particular Contract of Employment. To illustrate this, we’ve set out the following two scenarios:

Scenario 1: The Contract of Employment states “X days’ holiday, plus public and/or bank holidays”.

Under this Contract of Employment, any public and/or bank holidays are awarded on top of the employee’s annual holiday allowance and, as the Contract of Employment does not stipulate the exact number to which they are entitled, the employee will be contractually entitled to take and be paid for the extra bank holiday.

Scenario 2: The Contract of Employment states “X days’ holiday, inclusive of your public and/or bank holiday entitlement”.

Under this Contract of Employment, because the public and/or bank holidays are included within the employee’s set holiday entitlement and, because the Contract of Employment has not specified the exact number of public and/or bank holidays but has expressly shown that they are part of the employee’s set holiday entitlement, the employee would not have a contractual right to the extra bank holiday. In these circumstances, the employer is not obliged to give an extra day’s leave. Therefore, if an employee wishes to take the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday as annual leave, they would need to take a day from their existing annual leave entitlement.

However, employers may wish to acknowledge the extra unique bank holiday for their employees, regardless of what is specified in their Contracts of Employment. In 2011, when the last extra bank holiday was gifted, most employers chose to grant their employees the extra day off.

Employers should ensure that all employees are aware of whether or not they are entitled to the extra bank holiday in 2022. If the employer is planning to remain open, it should communicate this to employees and explain how the extra bank holiday will be used or owed, where applicable, and in accordance with the employer’s Holidays Policy.

If the employer is planning to close the business for the ‘four day weekend’, then it should communicate this to employees as well as setting out whether they will be granted an extra day’s holiday or whether they will be required to use a day from their holiday entitlement.

Points to note:

  • If it is mandatory for employees to work on a public and/or bank holiday, this should be specified within the Contract of Employment, including whether the employee will be entitled to a day off in lieu of the public and/or bank holiday worked.
  • Part-time employees who do not normally work on a Friday may ask for an additional day of holiday if their full-time colleagues (or part-time colleagues who work on a Friday) are granted one. If this is the case, then their pro rata entitlement to the additional day can be provided.
  • Employees on maternity leave continue to accrue annual leave during maternity leave and may, depending on the wording of their Contract of employment, be entitled to an extra day’s leave for the extra bank holiday when calculating accrued annual leave due to them.

Part time employees are protected in law from suffering a detriment due to their part-time status and women on maternity leave are protected from discrimination. Even where strictly the Contract of Employment wording does not entitle the employee to have the extra bank holiday, employers should consider the impact of the extra bank holiday on all of their employees and may choose to grant the extra day to eliminate the risk of potential claims.

Do you require a review of your existing template Contract of Employment? The GatekeeperHR team is here to help. GatekeeperHR is a fixed cost, employment law and HR retainer service which provides businesses with access to a dedicated team of experienced lawyers and HR professionals who you can speak to, or meet face-to-face, at any time. The service includes a full HR compliance audit, access to an online portal full of valuable employment law and HR resources and an annual training session on topics of your choosing. To find out more about GatekeeperHR, please contact us.

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