Employers should take into consideration employee relations and carefully manage the expectations of their employees
“In recognition of King Charles III’s Coronation on Saturday 6 May, there will be an extra one-off bank holiday on Monday 8 May.
“While many people may be excited by the prospect of an additional day off, it is worth noting that not everyone will automatically be entitled to the extra holiday.
“Whether or not an employee is entitled to the extra bank holiday will depend on the wording of their employment contract. If an employee’s contract states they are entitled to “XX days of annual leave plus bank and public holidays” (for example) then they will be entitled to the extra bank holiday.
“However, if their contract states they are entitled to “XX days of annual leave inclusive of bank holidays” OR “XX days of annual leave plus the usual bank or public holidays in England and Wales”, then employees will not automatically be entitled to the extra time off and it will be at the employer’s discretion whether to grant the additional bank holiday.
“For part-time employees, the wording of their contract will depend on whether they are entitled to the extra day off (or an alternative day off in lieu).
“If an employer does grant the bank holiday, they need to ensure that part-time employees are not disadvantaged. There may be part-time staff who would not normally be working on the bank holiday because it is not one of their working days. In these situations, employers may face complaints from those employees because they are missing out on the extra day off. In these circumstances, employers should adjust holiday entitlement on a pro-rata basis to avoid the risk of a claim for less favourable treatment of part-time workers.
“Whatever decision employers choose to make, they should take into consideration employee relations and carefully manage the expectations of their employees. Employers will no doubt want to avoid ending up with any disgruntled employees and will not want to run the risk of encountering any reputational damage for mismanaging the situation.
“In situations like this, consistency is key. If employees usually have bank holidays off, they are likely to expect the same to apply on 8 May 2023.
“Employers may wish to consider the position they took for the extra bank holiday for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last year as employees are likely to expect the same policy.
“Even if employers are not legally obliged to grant the additional bank holiday, not giving employees the extra day off, or at least a day in lieu, is likely to be badly received and employers should be careful not to risk damaging employee relations.”