King's Coronation 2023: Are all employees entitled to the additional bank holiday?
It has been announced that there will be an extra bank holiday to celebrate the King's Coronation (Monday 8 May 2023) which will form a special three-day weekend for many – but not for all!
Whether an employee is legally entitled to this extra bank holiday depends on the wording of their employment contract and their usual work patterns.
What does the employment contract say?
- If an employee’s contract states they are entitled to a certain number of annual leave days plus bank holidays, they will be entitled to this extra bank holiday.
- If an employee’s contract states that they are entitled to a certain number of annual leave days inclusive of bank holidays in England & Wales, it will be the employer’s choice whether to allow the extra bank holiday as it is not explicitly included under the contract.
- If the employment contract states they are entitled to a certain number of annual leave days plus the “usual” bank holidays, given this isn’t a "usual" bank holiday, they would not automatically be entitled to it, but the employer may decide to give it as an additional benefit.
Employees who are normally required to work on a bank holiday should not expect the day off. If they usually receive a more generous “bank holiday rate” for working on a bank holiday, they may expect this higher rate of pay. Employers will need to look carefully at the wording of the employment contract to see what the employees' contractual legal entitlements are and decide how to proceed.
For part-time workers, the position is the same - their entitlement depends on the wording of their contract. If they are entitled to the additional bank holiday under their contract, but this is not their normal working day, their holiday entitlement should be adjusted on a pro-rata basis to avoid claims for less favourable treatment.
Employees on maternity leave continue to accrue annual leave in accordance with their contract and so when working out their accrued leave, it is important to consider this.
What should employers do now?
- Closely examine the wording of the contract to ascertain if employees are entitled to the bank holiday. Seek specialist advice if unsure about this.
- Consider what approach was adopted for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and whether practices will be consistent. The fact that the extra bank holiday may have been given to employees, even if they were not legally entitled to it, does not mean that the same approach needs to be adopted, but it may be something long-serving employees' question.
- Consider employee morale. Even if not legally entitled to it, will depriving employees this benefit cause upset? Such an additional benefit may help boost employee morale.
If you have any questions on the topic covered please contact Paul Reeves or your usual Stephenson Harwood contact.
A version of this article was originally published by Employee Benefits.