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UK bank holiday – do employees have a right for time off on 19 September?

Next Monday, 19 September, has been declared a bank holiday in the UK for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. However, this does not mean that employees are automatically entitled to the time off.

Any businesses deciding to remain open may draw criticism from a reputational point of view and some employees may find themselves having to request the day off for childcare due to schools’ closure.

It is not surprising that most businesses have made the decision to close, in which case employees’ contracts of employment should be reviewed to understand what to do next.

If the wording of the contract specifies a number of days for bank holidays which does not include next Monday, employees will not have a contractual right to have the time off. In that case, an employer can decide to include the bank holiday as part of the annual leave entitlement, which means that the bank holiday will be deducted from their entitlement. Notice needs to be given to employees in line with the Working Time Regulations. Alternatively, an employer can also decide to add an additional day off on top of employees’ entitlement, in which case it should be explained to employees that this is an exceptional bank holiday and not a new holiday.

However, if contracts of employment simply state “plus all bank holidays”, without specifying how many, an employee will have a contractual entitlement to the bank holiday on Monday.

If there is no contractual right and the business is not closing for the day, employees could request the day off or unpaid leave.

If you or your business need any help, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Get in touch:

Solicitor, Laura Ramos, is highly experienced and part of Wards Solicitors’ specialist Employment Team. She specialises in all areas of employment law, including Employment Tribunal claims, with a particular focus on employment disputes. She also provides HR support to businesses.

Email Laura: at Laura.Ramos@wards.uk.com  or call Laura: on 0117 929 2811

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