In May there will be an extra bank holiday to celebrate the King’s Coronation. Entitlement to bank holidays will be governed by the terms of the contract of employment as there is no statutory entitlement to have bank holidays off. In the absence of anything in writing, rights relating to bank holidays may depend upon any custom and practice that has sprung up around them, or what has been agreed verbally.
Step one for employers is to check what their contracts of employment say. If the contract says the employee is entitled “to all bank and public holidays” then the extra day will require to be granted as additional leave. In this scenario employers cannot insist that the employees work on a public holiday, but they can seek their agreement to do so in exchange for a day in lieu at another time.
Many contracts will provide for a specified number of public holidays (without necessarily specifying particular dates) in addition to a specified annual leave entitlement, or, alternatively, public holidays will be specified as being included within the total annual leave entitlement. In either of these cases, employees will be able to request time off, but the day off will be subtracted from their usual annual leave entitlement. The employer is also under no obligation to grant any particular request for holidays (assuming they would allow the employee to take the leave at a different time during the holiday year) although they should only refuse any request on reasonable grounds.
Whether an employee is entitled to public holidays or not, if they do work them there is no entitlement to extra pay unless there is a contractual right to it. Again, that will flow from either the terms of the contract, custom and practice or what may have been agreed verbally.
This provides summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. Where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented and the judgments made in every aspect of the case. Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.