Celebrations for the Queen’s platinum jubilee (a record busting 70 years on the throne) are going on all year, but the workplace attention grabber was the announcement of an extra public holiday on Friday 3 June. Coupled with the change to the usual spring public holiday from end of May to Thursday 2 June, creating a potential four-day weekend for staff.
So, if you’re not sure whether to give everyone the day off, do you have to?
The answer is, it depends…
The starting point is that all full-time workers are entitled to a minimum of 28 days’ paid holiday each year. This may (but doesn’t have to) include the usual public holidays. Part-time workers get this pro-rated to hours worked.
But your staff’s entitlement to take public holidays off depends entirely on what is in their contract.
- “20 days holiday plus [the usual/normal/8] public holidays” or “28 days holiday” or “20 days plus 8 public holidays” – staff are not automatically entitled to the extra day on 3 June. But they would be entitled to take the 2 June off as it simply replaces the standard public holiday at the end of May.
- “20 days holiday plus public holidays” staff are entitled to the extra public holiday on 3 June as well as the one on 2 June.
However, if a worker isn’t entitled to an extra public holiday you could give it to them anyway, or they could use their normal holiday entitlement to take advantage of the 4 day break. Or you could even decide to close the office and require staff to take the day as annual leave.
Other common misconceptions:
There’s no automatic right to time off on a public holiday – employers can treat it as a normal working day. And neither is there an automatic right to be paid extra for working on a public holiday or to receive time off in lieu. These things will always depend on what’s in the contract.
What should you do now?
Check the wording of your contracts and communicate to staff asap. Workers may be expecting an extra public holiday so it’s best to manage expectations if that’s not going to be the case.
How can we help?
We regularly help companies review, clarify and update staff contracts and policies. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss this.