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2nd February, 2022

The Queen’s Jubilee: The Four Day Weekend

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As part of the celebration to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Government announced last year that there will be an additional public holiday on Friday, 3 June 2022 and the creation of a four-day weekend with the late May bank holiday being moved to Thursday, 2 June 2022.

For many, this new measure won’t have much impact as they shut up shop and kick back. But what are the implications from an employment law perspective? We explore the key considerations below:

Q1: what are the rules around public holidays?

All full-time workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks statutory annual leave entitlement under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR 1998) which is calculated pro rata for part-time workers.

Most businesses close during the bank holidays and so, require employees to allocate part of their annual leave entitlement to cover this period. The rules around this should be set out in a worker’s contract of employment.

Q2: Are workers entitled to time off during the public holiday?

No, workers do not have a statutory right to time off (paid or otherwise) on any public holiday.

Whether a worker can be required to work on a public holiday is a matter for the contract or the needs of the business. This naturally makes sense as many industries or occupations such as retail or the emergency service will need to remain open for commercial or operational purposes.

Q3: Do employees need to provide for an additional day of paid leave?

Employers are not required to provide for an additional day of paid leave to cover the additional bank holiday, although there will likely be an expectation from staff to have this time off, particularly if it is the business’ custom or practice to close on bank holidays.

Alternatively, you can require staff to use their holiday entitlement during the June public holiday provided there is a contractual right to do so or alternatively you give sufficient notice as outlined under The WTR 1998. The notice must be at least twice as long as the period of leave they are requesting e.g. an employer must give at least four days’ notice if they want their employees to take leave for the 3 and 4 of June 2022.  If you wish to rely on this, we recommend giving as much advance notice as possible and setting this out in writing to avoid any disputes further down the line.

Q4: What are our key tips for employers who will require staff to work the June public holidays?

  1. Check contractual terms under the contract of employment to see if there is a right to request staff to take leave on public holidays.
  2. Inform staff as early as possible of your decision if you consider staff will need to be working for the two days.
  3. Provide sufficient notice if there is no contractual notice in place (see Q4 above).
  4. Ensure that staff receive their full contractual holiday entitlement for the holiday year.

Contact us for help and advice.

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