As we approach the King’s Coronation, no doubt everybody will be aware that the UK will receive an extra public holiday for this on Monday 8th May. The question at the top of the list is whether employees are entitled to an extra paid day of holiday.
Although employees will be jumping for joy at the idea of an extra day off work, it isn’t necessarily the case that they will receive an additional paid holiday. It really all comes down to how holiday entitlement is covered in their contract of employment. While many employers will choose to “gift” this extra bank holiday, for those who won’t it is common to be caught out by drafting issues and in cases of gratuitous bank holidays like this one, be required to pay employees for an extra unexpected holiday.
Where a contract of employment refers to holiday entitlement being inclusive of public holidays, employers can require the Coronation holiday to form part of the current leave year existing entitlement. However, where holiday entitlement provides for a basic allowance plus bank holidays, employers will find themselves having to pay for the extra day off in May. To muddy the waters, some employment contracts refer to holiday entitlement as being inclusive of the “usual bank holidays”. This will leave the Coronation holiday open to challenge if employers include this in existing holiday entitlement because a one off, gratuitous holiday cannot reasonably be deemed a usual bank holiday.
While employers could not unilaterally change employment terms for existing employees in terms of holiday entitlement which grants an extra paid day of leave, now is a good time to review employment contracts for any new starters to ensure that the drafting truly reflects the intention of the employer and not just as far as holiday entitlement is concerned. All too often employers will issue a “standard” form of employment contract to all employees which is not tailored to meet their requirements, with potential to cause a whole host of issues during the employment.
In reality, we expect that most employers will gift the additional bank holiday to employees for the King’s Coronation particularly given that it is an isolated event and perhaps not likely to occur again for many years. Quite often the damage to morale and the employment relationship of not gifting one day for a momentous occasion could be worse for the business, although depending on what the employment contract says, it may come down to a choice for the business.
If you would like more information, please contact the Employment team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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