It’s fair to say we’ve had a tough few years and we’re all more than ready to focus on the positives. In that sense, Her Majesty the Queen marking her 70th year on the throne, in her Platinum Jubilee comes just at the right time. What’s more, in order to allow people across the UK to celebrate, an additional bank holiday has been declared and the existing Spring bank holiday has been moved, to create a 4-day weekend.

While for the majority of us, the prospect of a long weekend at the start of the summer is fantastic, for some businesses this leaves several questions. People Matter HR, the Bury-based award winning outsourced HR consultancy, have put together a guide of the logistics of the weekend for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, regarding the rights of employees and the options open to businesses.

 So, just what is different?

This year, the Spring Bank Holiday which normally takes place on the last Monday in May will be moved to Thursday, 2 June 2022. The additional Bank Holiday will then take place on Friday, 3 June 2022.

Is the holiday mandatory?

It is important to note that the extra Bank Holiday is not a statutory Bank Holiday and is therefore, entirely at the discretion of the company. However, most employees will expect it to be. Employees do not have an automatic right to paid time off on a bank holiday. It all very much depends of the wording of employment contracts, and employers must communicate with their staff about whether they will be required to work, in line with their contract.

Contract wording is key

The way holiday entitlement is worded in employment contracts is absolutely crucial here, as contracts have many different variations. If your standard employment contract states:

20 days holiday per annum plus Bank Holidays – employees will have a contractual entitlement to take paid time off on the additional bank holiday as the wording on holiday entitlement in the contract is not limited to the normal/usual bank holidays observed in England and Wales. However if it states 20 days holiday per annum plus Statutory Bank Holidays then there is no entitlement to it as the additional Bank Holiday is not statutory.

If your standard employment contract states:

 28 days holiday per annum – when a contract makes no reference to bank holidays, the employee can book off the bank holidays, including the additional bank holiday, from their 28 day holiday allowance. However, there is no increase in holiday entitlement as a result of the additional bank holiday.

20 days holiday per annum plus 8 bank/public holidays – similar to above, the contract does not state exactly which  bank holidays are included within the employee’s holiday entitlement – so the employee has the ability to book the additional bank holiday as paid time off in June 2022. This will, however, mean that the employee will not be entitled to one of the later bank holidays in the year.

20 days holiday per annum plus New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, Summer Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day – where there is a list of bank holidays contained within the contract, the employee will only be entitled to receive paid time off on those bank holidays listed. Employees with such wording in their contract will be entitled to paid time off on 2 June 2022 as this is the date the bank holiday referred to as the “Spring Bank Holiday” has been moved too but not on the additional Bank Holiday on 3 June 2022.

20 days holiday per annum plus the usual bank/public holidays observed in England and Wales – here, as the additional bank holiday is not usually observed in England and Wales, employees would not be entitled to take paid time off on the additional bank holiday. They could, however, book it as annual leave.

People Matters HR clients

People Matters HR clients have a very clear outline of where they stand in terms of the additional holiday. This is because as an outsourced HR consultancy their contracts are written for them. In a nutshell, they have the following options for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee:

  • Ignore it and treat it as a working day, so if people want to take it off, they have to book a days holiday or take unpaid leave.
  • Close and ask your staff take a days holiday for that day.
  • Grant them the extra day off to celebrate the Jubilee with a 4 day summer weekend.
  • Swap the bank holidays to give everyone Friday off so they get a long weekend but make Thursday optional.

As most employees will expect that they will receive this additional bank holiday and the .gov web site and holiday calculator has included it, you might want to think about your decision carefully. The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is intended to be a National Celebration and although the letter of the law, in some cases, means you don’t have to allow it, the impact of not allowing it will affect your employee engagement and goodwill.