The Diamond Jubilee bank holiday is just around the corner! But how well-informed are employers regarding holiday employment laws? Using your employee employment contracts is a common solution for paying rates, part-time employees, and other concerns.
The dates of bank holidays differ depending on where you live.
Each of the UK’s countries has its own set of bank holidays:
Except for Easter Monday and the late August bank holiday, Scotland has nine bank holidays plus three additional occasions.
In Northern Ireland, there are eleven, plus two additional days for St Patrick’s Day and Orangemen’s Day.
Each portion of the UK will gain an extra day for the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday on June 3, 2022.
A contract of employment, which includes a list of bank holiday dates, may need to be modified depending on where work is done.
Is it legal to take a vacation?
Employees do not have a legal right to take time off for a bank holiday; rather, the employment contract determines this. Employers have the option of providing time off based on their business needs. Employees must be given at least 5.6 weeks of the yearly vacation, even if they are not given time off for holidays.
It’s crucial to word your time off correctly.
When companies provide employees a contractual right to time off for holidays, the contract language is crucial.
A contract stating that the employee will have 28 days off + holidays means that the employee will have 28 days off plus holidays.
If a person works in England and Wales, a provision stating that they get 28 days off, including bank holidays, normally means that the employee has 20 days off and eight days off for bank holidays.
Employers should also be aware that the way they schedule their holiday leave years may result in an employee getting more vacation time one year than the next. When the holiday season runs from April to March and Easter falls earlier than usual, this is frequent, as the employee may get more bank holidays one year than the next. With fewer bank holidays, the employee must obtain their minimum vacation entitlement during the year.
Should employees be compensated better?
Working on bank holidays does not entitle you to additional pay or extended vacation. Some employees might assume they have a right to it. However, their right to an extra day is limited by their job contract. Some businesses choose to give double pay or time and a half as an inducement for employees to work bank holidays, and failure to do so will be deemed a contract violation.
Working part-time has drawbacks.
Part-time employees are not entitled to preferential treatment over full-time ones. Giving full-time employees time off for a holiday but not part-time employees receive preferential treatment. Some businesses feel this is true, particularly where part-time employees do not typically work holidays. Instead, offer part-time workers a pro-rata allotment of bank holidays, regardless of whether they work on these days regularly. This guarantees that they are treated the same as full-time employees in terms of annual leave entitlement.
Discrimination based on religion should be avoided.
When a request is made for religious observance on a religiously significant bank holiday, such as Easter Monday, a policy requiring all workers to work bank holidays and rejecting any time off could result in indirect discrimination charges. Employers can justify such a strategy if they have a legitimate aim and the resources to achieve it. Employers should assess each request to see if it may be granted to reduce risk.
Alan Price is Peninsula’s human resources director.