Bank holiday on 29th April 2011: are you prepared?

26th November 2010

Bank holiday on 29th April 2011: are you prepared?

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The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29 April 2011 will be marked by a public holiday across the UK. What should you do about it?

A bit of history first: when the right to holiday pay was introduced by the Working Time Regulations in 1998, it mirrored the EU Working Time Directive in providing for 4 weeks holiday pay.

For most employers, this meant providing 4 weeks holiday on top of the 8 bank and public holidays. But for some, noting that no legislation makes the bank and public holidays compulsory, it meant 4 weeks including the 8 bank and public holidays, leaving employees working five days per week with 12 working days holiday over and above the bank and public holidays.

This discrepancy was addressed in 2007, leading to the current statutory minimum of 5.6 weeks holiday pay (i.e 28 days inclusive of bank and public holidays for workers working 5 days per week). Most employers who were already providing for 4 weeks plus public and bank holidays did not modify their full time employees’ contracts of employment as 20+8 = 5.6 x 5 = 28.

The introduction of an extra public holiday on 29 April 2011, the Queen’s silver jubilee in 2012 and the fact that Scotland has 9 bank and public holidays and Wales has 10 introduce a degree of complexity.

Employers who express the holiday entitlement as 5.8 weeks inclusive of bank holiday will not have to make additional payment for the wedding of Kate and William. Those employers who express holiday entitlement for their full time staff as 20 days plus bank holidays will have to pay for the extra day.

With Easter Friday and Monday falling respectively on 22nd and 25th of April 2010, holiday requests for 26th, 27th, 28th are already reaching HR departments. If your holiday policy does not deal with this, refusing these requests is going to become a headache.

Are you already receiving the requests? How are you dealing with them? We would love to hear your feedback.

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