Hopefully forward planning has occurred with employers and employees now organised bank holiday wise, everybody knows who is working, who is not. But just in case, here is a reminder of the law attaching holiday rights.

Are employees entitled to the Coronation Bank Holiday?

Monday 8 May 2023, the Monday following His Majesty King Charles III’s Coronation, will be a national bank holiday (the “Coronation Bank Holiday”)

Employees are not necessarily entitled to this additional bank holiday simply because the Government has announced it.

Entitlement to the Coronation Bank Holiday is governed by:

  • an individual’s contract of employment,
  • an employees work pattern, and
  • the Working Time Regulations 1998 (‘WTR’) (“Workers”)

Who will get the day off?

Whether or not an employee is entitled to the extra day will depend on the terms of their contract, whether expressly provided or established by custom and practice.

If the employment contract says

  • employees are entitled to X days of annual leave inclusive of bank holidays, or X days of annual leave plus the usual 8 UK bank holidays (in England and Wales), it will be entirely at the employer’s discretion whether or not to give the employee the additional bank holiday this year. It is common to NHS and employment contracts for employees working in emergency or public services to be drafted in this way.
  • the employee is entitled to “25 days’ holiday per year plus public and bank holidays”, then your employees will be contractually entitled to take the additional bank holiday on 8 May as an extra day of paid leave.

Part-time employees

The position is the same for part-time staff – whether they are entitled to the day off (or an alternative day off) is dependent on the wording of their contract.

Part-time staff who would not normally be working on the bank holiday, because it is not one of their working days, would miss out if the extra day off is only given to those employees who do normally work on that day. Therefore, in order to avoid the risk of a claim for less favourable treatment of part-time workers, their holiday entitlement should be adjusted to reflect this on a pro-rata basis.

Working Time Regulations

The WTR entitle workers (those that are not employees but not contractors either) to a statutory minimum of 5.6 weeks’ holiday each year. This is equivalent to 28 days for a full-time five-day a week worker and the entitlement is pro-rated for part-time workers. 

The WTR do not confer a right to take specific public holidays as holiday and the amount of statutory leave is inclusive of all public holidays. Under the WTR, therefore, the additional bank holiday on 8 May could be treated as one of the 28 statutory days.

Payment for working on the Coronation Bank Holiday

Where there is a right to require a member of staff to work on the Coronation Bank Holiday, payment will be at their normal rate unless the contract states otherwise e.g. if it provides a premium rate for working on public holidays.

Employee Relations

If employees usually have bank holidays off (or are paid a “bank holiday” rate), they are likely to expect the same to apply on 8 May 2023. Even if they are not legally entitled to it in accordance with their contract, not giving the extra day off is likely to be badly received. Therefore, regardless of what the employee contract says about bank holidays, an employer may just choose (if the sector in which they operate permits) to shut up shop to give employees 8 May as an extra day of paid holiday.

However, for business’s who operate in a public service sector with schools and colleges will be closed it is likely that many working parents may wish to take time off. Care should be taken towards automatically giving working parents priority booking per se, that situation could end up with disgruntled employees who feel they are being treated unfairly.

Businesses are likely to follow whatever stance you have taken in relation to previous ‘one off’ bank holidays such as the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday and the Queen’s State Funeral bank holiday last year.