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Who pays when extra bank holidays are granted?

Guest article by Helen Phillips, Director and Principal Practitioner at Oyster HR Solutions Ltd

(Adobe Stock)

In June 2022, we all cheered and celebrated as our dear Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 70 years on the throne. An additional bank holiday was given to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee. 

Sadly, this September, the Queen left us, having served us so faithfully for all those years.

One of the first declarations the new King made in his speech was to make the day of the Queen’s funeral, Monday, 19 September, a bank holiday.

Many businesses, some of which have done so already, will take the decision to close at times during the national mourning period as a mark of respect, and to deal with grief.

Next year- at some point – Charles III will be crowned King, and there will be much ceremony and celebrating once again.

So, as an employer do you have to grant the additional holiday, and do you have to pay your staff? As with all of these questions, the answer isn’t as straight forward as it first appears.

If, as an employer, you have decided to close your business on a normal workday as a mark of respect- then yes you will be paying staff as usual.

When the government grants an additional public holiday, then we need to look at our contracts of employment to decide how we will deal with this additional holiday.

Which of these fits your situation?

a) Your contract is for 28 days holidays including bank and public holidays.

The additional day should come from the employee’s holiday allowance. You are free to give an additional paid day off if you wish.

b)  Your contract is for 20 days Plus bank and public holidays.

 If there is an additional awarded day off – your contract means you should pay that day in addition to the usual days off.

c) Your contract is for 20 days plus these listed 8 bank holidays (Christmas and Boxing day, New Year’s day, Good Friday and Easter Monday, Early & Late May bank holidays, Late August bank holiday).

In this case an additional day should not be awarded and paid for by the employer.

Regardless of the numbers of days involved – we hope this is helpful. If your situation is more complicated than I’ve outlined, I’d recommend speaking with a HR practitioner who will be able to advise you on your individual circumstance.