As we approach the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee no doubt everybody will be aware that the UK will receive an extra public holiday this year. The Spring bank holiday has been temporarily moved to Thursday 2nd June and there will be a “one-off” Platinum Jubilee bank holiday on Friday 3rd June.
While employees are probably jumping for joy at this news, it isn’t necessarily the case that they will receive an extra paid holiday. It really all comes down to how holiday entitlement is covered in the contract of employment. However, it is common for employers to be caught out by drafting issues and in cases of gratuitous bank holidays, 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 Platinum Jubilee 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 this year. To muddy the waters, some employment contracts refer to holiday entitlement as being inclusive of the “usual bank holidays”. This will leave the Platinum Jubilee holiday open to challenge if employers deduct this from existing entitlement because a one-off, the gratuitous holiday cannot reasonably be deemed a usual bank holiday.
While not much could fairly change at this stage for existing employees in terms of holiday entitlement which grants an extra paid days leave, now is a good time for employers to review their 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 contract to all employees which is not tailored to meet their needs, with the potential to cause a whole host of issues during the employment.
In reality, many employers are likely to give their employees the extra paid holiday for the Platinum Jubilee regardless of how the employment contract is worded, particularly given that it is a one-off and perhaps not likely to occur again for many years. However, the drafting of employment contracts in this regard and more generally does have the potential to cause headaches for a business if not done properly.
If you would like more information or discuss a contract review please contact the Employment Team.