Do you need to give your people a day off for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee?

17th May 2012

Do you need to give your people a day off for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee?

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As most of you are aware the Queen is giving us one extra bank holiday on 5 June 2012 for her Diamond Jubilee.  Do you need to give the day off to your people?

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 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on 5 June 2012, moving the end of May bank holiday to 4 June and the fact that Scotland has 9 bank and public holidays and Wales has 10 introduces a degree of complexity.

Employers who express the holiday entitlement as 5.6 weeks inclusive of bank holiday will not be legally bound to pay an extra day for the Jubilee. 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.

Whether you can request your staff to work on 4 and 5 June 2012 also depends on the wording of your contracts and staff handbook. Even if you have the contractual right to request your staff to work on 4 and 5 June 2012, you may want to give them a financial incentive to do so if you want to avoid a Jubilitis epidemic.

How are you dealing with the bank holidays? We would love to hear your feedback.

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