The UK’s first Coronation for over 70 years will be on Saturday 6 May. In recognition of this historic event, the government has declared Monday 8 May a national bank holiday.
But whilst an extra bank holiday might be getting workers across the country excited at the prospect of a day off, it’s important to remember that this won’t always be the case for everyone.
And confusion reigns when it comes to managing bank holidays in the workplace; five of the 10 most-asked questions on HR and employment law consultancy firm Peninsula’s AI search engine BrAInbox are related to bank holidays.
Kate Palmer, HR Advice & Consultancy Director at Peninsula, says “The coronation bank holiday should be treated in exactly the same way as any other bank holiday. But still, a lot of people fall into the trap of thinking that bank holidays give them an automatic right to a paid day off. In reality, whether an employee does or doesn’t get this day off all comes down to what’s in the contract of employment.
“If a contract specifically states the bank holidays an employee is entitled to, or the number of bank holidays, then additional days will likely not be included. However, if the contract stipulates an employee is entitled to “all bank holidays”, then they will be entitled to the day off for the King’s Coronation.
“However, even if contracts don’t entitle employees to take the day off, many employers are still choosing to give it as a paid day off. Not only does this allow employees to share the historic moment with friends and family, it is also a great way for employers to show appreciation for employees’ hard work and boost morale.
“Other employers may choose to shut up shop on the bank holiday and enforce annual leave. While this gives employees who would have otherwise had to work the day off, it will be taken out of their annual leave allowance. Employers who choose to go down this route must provide double the notice of the time employees are required to take off, in this case, a minimum of two days’ notice.
“For some industries, such as hospitality, security, or healthcare, it will just be a normal working day. And others will be busier than normal, covering an event of such historical importance. Employees in these industries would be entitled to request time off using their usual annual leave procedures, but maximum caps may be enforced to ensure appropriate staffing levels to deal with demand. Some employers will require all employees to work.
“The additional bank holiday will apply to all schools in the UK, which could cause some challenges for working parents who are not entitled to the day off. Employees with school-age children should have adequate time to organise childcare if they have to work on the day. However, if these arrangements fall through at the last minute, they will be able to exercise their statutory right to take time off for dependants. Of course, they can also request annual leave as per the usual procedures but if the request is rejected, temporary working from home could be approved where possible.”