Bank Holidays: 5 things every employer should know

Everyone loves a bank holiday, unless you are an employer trying to work out your obligations and your employee’s rights. As we approach the Easter bank holiday, here is what you need to know:

(1)  There is no statutory right for employees to have bank holidays off work. An employee’s right to time off will depend on the employee’s contract of employment.

(2)  There is no statutory right to extra pay; for example, should an employee work a bank holiday, they will not be entitled to time and a half. Any right to extra pay will depend on the provisions of the employment contract.

(3)  Part time workers should not be treated less favourably than full time workers. To follow best practice guidelines, employers should give part time employees a prorated allowance of paid bank holidays, regardless of whether or not they normally work on the days on which bank holidays fall.

(4)  If the employment contract states an employee will be required to work bank holidays, they cannot refuse this, even on the grounds of religious reasons. However, it is important to note, refusal to grant Christian employees time off for any of the bank holidays with religious significance could expose you to indirect religious discrimination claims.

(5)  If the employment contract states that employees are entitled to “statutory entitlement plus bank holidays”, this no longer means 20 days leave plus 8 bank holidays. In 2009, the statutory minimum leave was increased from 4 weeks to 5.9 weeks, thus, this wording would grant 28 days holiday with 8 bank holidays on top. Employers should check the wording in their employment contracts to determine if this is an issue.

How can Employment Law Services (ELS) help?

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