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The Government has announced a bank holiday on 19 September, the date of the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This is in addition to the extra bank holiday that took place on Friday 03 June for the Platinum Jubilee.

In essence, employers will need to consider whether their staff are entitled to take an additional day’s paid leave, be that on 19 September 2022 or on another date in the same holiday year.

If the employment contract states that employees are entitled to a set number of days of annual leave inclusive of bank holidays (or the usual bank holidays), then they will not be entitled to an additional day’s paid leave for the extra bank holiday. The same will apply if the contract simply sets out a certain number of days annual leave in a holiday year but is silent on bank holidays.

On the other hand, if the contract sets out that employees are entitled to a certain number of days annual leave, plus bank holidays, and makes no mention of either the number of bank holidays or the specific bank holidays to be added on, employees will be entitled to an additional day’s paid leave.

If employees are not entitled to an additional day’s paid leave but employers wish to offer this as a gesture of goodwill, they should put in place clear parameters for taking the day as additional paid leave, or time off in lieu where staff otherwise have to work, and make it clear to staff that the additional day is being given at the employer’s discretion.

If employers are unsure regarding their responsibilities regarding holiday rights and pay, they should seek professional advice on the issue.

Frequently asked questions

Does the bank holiday for the Queen’s funeral automatically mean staff are entitled to the day off?

This will come down to the wording of employees’ contracts. Although there is no statutory entitlement for employees to have bank holidays off work, employers may include these days as part of a worker’s leave entitlement. If the contract of employment specifies that all bank holidays will be taken as paid time off, then 19 September should be treated in exactly the same way. However, if the contract provides for specific bank holidays only (for example, the usual 8 bank holidays for England and Wales), then paid leave for the additional bank holiday will be at the discretion of the employer.

The Government cannot dictate that staff should be given the day off, although they have commented that “We would expect that many workers will be able to take the day off on the bank holiday. We also expect employers to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take the day of the funeral off work.”

If the contract of employment requires staff to work bank holidays, will they get a day off in lieu?

Employees have no statutory entitlement to a day off in lieu where required to work a bank holiday. As such, an employee is only entitled to a day off in lieu where the contract of employment entitles them to take additional bank holidays, including a day off in lieu if required to work on that date.

Will schools be closed on the day of the Queen’s funeral?

The Government has confirmed that schools will be closed on the day of the funeral, which means that there could be many requests for time off from staff for childcare reasons if the bank holiday is not granted as paid leave.

If an individual has annual leave booked for the day of the funeral, will they be able to reclaim this leave?

This will be at the employer’s discretion. However, if staff due at work on 19 September are being given the day as additional paid leave, then in the interests of fairness, we would advise that employees already on annual leave for this day should be treated even-handedly and permitted to reclaim one day’s leave.

Will there be a further bank holiday for the Coronation of King Charles?

A decision will be made once the date for the Coronation has been confirmed.

Will the bank holiday to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral be an annual bank holiday?

There are currently no plans for this to be an annual holiday as it is currently considered an exceptional holiday much like the Platinum Jubilee.



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