Bank Holidays – What are my rights?

How many bank or public holidays are there?

In the calendar year there are usually 8 standard bank or public holidays in England and Wales. However, in 2022 there were two additional days for the Platinum Jubilee and the Queens funeral. To add further complexity, Christmas and a new Year fell on weekends so alternate bank holiday dates were set.

In the calendar year 2023, there are 9 official bank or public holidays including the Kings Coronation.

There are variations across the United Kingdom of when bank and public holidays fall, and some areas of the various countries may continue to hold local holidays where businesses close.

Some employers operate holiday years commencing on other dates such as April. This can cause some distortion of bank holidays as Easter dates float between various point of March and April. This can result in holiday years covering less or more than the standard 8 days, yet regulation 13 (4 weeks) and 13a (1.6 weeks) continues to apply in relation to minimum holiday entitlements for the relevant holiday year.

Can an employer stipulate when I take holiday?

Employment law does allow employers to instruct when annual leave is to be taken. They can both place restrictions on when leave can be taken and also enforce periods of holiday leave.

These requirements may be laid out in the employment contract terms and conditions or the holiday scheme rules, also the employer may give notice of leave to be taken.

The employers is required to give twice the notice of the leave to be taken. So if a business were to close for a week and require employees to take paid holiday leave, then they must inform employees at least two weeks prior.

Must my employer allow me to take a day off for a bank holiday?

Bank or public holidays do not have to be given as a days leave. There is no statutory right to take the day off and a bank holiday could be a work day.

The contract of employment may stipulate when leave dates are to be taken, or an employer may give notice of days required to be taken as holiday.

Do Bank holidays have to be paid?

Bank or public holidays do not have to be given as paid leave unless they form part of your statutory holiday.

An employer can choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave of 5.6 paid weeks (capped at 28 days annually).

Some employers may contractually provide additional bank holiday pay entitlements. The contract may state which days are specifically included such as Christmas Day and New Years. These days may not always fall on working days and may not be official bank holidays.

Employers may need to decide what policies they implement and communicate with their employees and workers.

Do I get double time for working a bank holiday?

There is no statutory right for those who work on bank or public holidays to be paid more than their standard wage.

Some employers may offer enhanced payments for those who work bank or public holidays, however, there is no requirement to do so.

Any premium payment would be by agreement within the employment contract and associated terms and conditions. Any premium element does not count as earnings for National Minimum Wage purposes.

How many Bank holidays am I entitled to each year?

We have established that there is no statutory right to any bank or public holidays each year, however, the Working Time Regulation 13a provides for 1.6 paid weeks statutory holiday leave in addition the regulation 13 provision of 4 weeks paid leave under EU requirements. It is likely this will be combined into new law as a single 5.6 weeks entitlement.

This 1.6 weeks can be used by employers to cover bank and public holidays capped at 8 days per annum based on a 5 day or more working days per week.

However, a part time worker who works less than 5 days still has a 1.6 weeks paid leave amount but using the number of regular working days. So if someone normally worked Tuesday through Thursday each week, none these may fall on bank or public holidays, but they retain a 1.6 x 3 days entitlement to annual leave. So they have 4.8 days leave under regulation 13a as a minimum (employers can contractually provide more, but not less). So overall the minimum holiday entitlement is 5.6 weeks x 3 working days = 16.8 days annual leave minimum.

Are Christmas And New Year’s Day public holidays?

Often they are, but sometimes these festival days fall on weekends, in which case alternate days are declared as bank or public holidays. So Christmas and New Year’s Day in 2022 where on weekends and so alternate days were designated as the bank holiday.

Are zero hours workers paid for Bank Holidays?

There is no right to paid bank holidays for any type of employee or worker unless part of the employment contract terms and conditions.

However, zero hours workers retain the holiday pay right to 5.6 weeks paid annual leave with 1.6 weeks under regulation 13a which may be used to cover bank or public holidays.

Some employers may claim that the zero hours worker is only entitled to a pro-rate entitlement reflecting actual hours worked, this is incorrect and not aligned with the current regulations. If an employee or worker for the full year, they are entitled to the statutory minimum 5.6 paid weeks leave.

Paid leave is required, under the Employment Rights Act to be based on the 52 paid week earnings average excluding and zero pay weeks from the average.

PAYadvice.UK 21/5/2023

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