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03rd February 2022

Extra UK bank holiday – are you entitled to it?

Extra UK Bank Holiday – How does it work?

With the country celebrating an extra bank holiday this year, find out if you are entitled to it. Nikita Passi, Solicitor at Napthens, explains.

As we move further into 2022, a number of employers are implementing their strategies for the year. This will include looking at staffing requirements which has thrown up a common question – will my staff be entitled to the additional bank holiday in 2022?

Staffing in the health and social care sector has been increasingly difficult during the course of the pandemic and has been impacted by Brexit and the mandatory vaccination requirements. While the additional bank holiday may seem like a drop in the ocean compared with this, it is still an additional complication for employers to consider.

Not all staff are automatically entitled to the Bank Holiday

The additional bank holiday has been announced to take place in June of 2022, but all staff will not be automatically entitled to the additional day. This will depend on the member of staff’s contract and the specific wording contained within it.

Under the Working Time Regulations, all employees and workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ annual leave per annum which is prorated should the individual work less than full-time hours. For a full-time individual, this generally equates to 28 days’ annual leave. It is common to see this split into 20 days leave which the individual can choose to book and the usual 8 public holidays which are automatically deducted if the employer closes during them. However, some employers choose not to separate out holiday entitlement in this way, for example, if staff are normally required to work on a public holiday, so this can lead to some confusion over what individual entitlements are.

Generally, if the wording of the contract is quite wide, e.g. ‘entitled to X days’ holiday per annum plus bank holidays,’ then the individual would be entitled to the additional bank holiday (paid) as there isn’t a specific limit on the number of public holidays they are entitled to.  In this example, the wording of the contract is not limited to specific bank holidays.

If the contract is more specific in that it says the individual is entitled to 28 days’ holiday per annum but is silent as to which bank holidays are included, the individual could book the additional bank holiday as leave using their 28 days’ allowance. There would be no increase in the overall holiday entitlement though, and so you would not be expected to pay the individual an additional day’s holiday.

If the contract includes a list of the bank holidays that the individual is entitled to, e.g. ‘Christmas Day, Boxing Day etc.’ they would not be entitled to the additional bank holiday. The individual would simply be entitled to the specific days listed.

Gesture of goodwill

Even where the individual does not have a contractual entitlement to the additional bank holiday, as an employer you can still allow individuals to take the bank holiday as a gesture of goodwill. If it is not possible to allow all individuals to take the additional bank holiday, you could consider offering time off in lieu. We suggest considering how you have approached this in the past and the precedent that has been set. Individuals are likely to be fully aware of the additional bank holiday so will be asking their employers about how they are proposing to deal with it.

To conclude, ultimately the bank holiday entitlement is very contract dependent. We advise all employers to carefully check the wording of each individual’s contract to determine if they are entitled to the additional bank holiday. If you would like any further guidance on this topic, our highly experienced Employment and HR Team is on hand to assist and will be able to explore this with you further. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Napthens LLP

Employment Law Specialists

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