Queen's Funeral & the additional Bank Holiday: an Employer's guide
Bank Holiday for HM Queen Elizabeth II
The funeral for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s will be held on Monday 19th September 2022. The Government has announced that this day will be a bank holiday for all parts of the United Kingdom.
What does this mean for employers do they need to honor it?
Government guidance confirms that each employer needs to make their own decision on whether they will treat this day the same as additional bank holidays.
In a notice from the Government, it is stated that “this is a matter for discussion between the individuals and their employer.”*
There is no statutory right to time-off for public / bank holidays, and so it is important for employers to review contracts of employment when deciding whether their staff are entitled to this additional bank holiday.
For example, employment contracts which state that the employee is entitled to “20 days annual leave plus 8 public holidays” (which are listed) will not have an automatic right to time off. In contrast, employees who have the right to “all public/bank holidays” will be entitled to the day off work.
Holiday clauses can be worded in a variety of ways:
“20 days holiday plus the usual public / bank holiday…”
"20 days holiday plus public / bank holidays…”
“20 days holiday plus the following public / bank holiday…”
For employees working on the bank holiday, it is important to note that there are no statutory rules regarding extra pay on public/bank holidays. Employees are advised to check their staff handbooks and/or employment contracts which may include details and further guidance about public/bank holidays.
The notice from the Government also states that “the Government cannot interfere in existing contractual arrangements between employers and workers.” *
However, employers are encouraged to be mindful and sensitive when dealing with requests from staff who request time off during this period of national mourning.
When deciding whether to grant time off for employees, is important for employers to balance any legal position with the emotional needs of their staff.
What about part-time employees?
Part time employees have a right not to be treated less favourably than full time employees (Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000). To ensure fair treatment, it is best to give them a pro-rata entitlement of the public holidays regardless of whether or not they would normally work on that day.
What about staff with children?
Schools are to be closed on the 19th September 2022 which may make child care difficult for some employees.
Travel to and from work
Some staff rely on public transport, there is likely be a reduced service on public transport on the Bank Holiday which could affect some employees.
It is still yet to be announced whether the date of coronation for His Majesty King Charles III will be a Bank Holiday.
*Bank Holiday announced for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral on Monday 19 September - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
If you have any questions regarding the implications of the additional Bank Holiday and your employer obligations, then please feel free to contact our employment team here.View all