The government has confirmed an additional four-day bank holiday will take place in June 2022 to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and here at Smith Cooper, we can’t wait to all enjoy the extra day off!

The Spring Bank Holiday, which usually takes place at the end of May will be moved to Thursday 2 June to accommodate the extended break and the additional Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday will then take place on Friday 3 June, creating a four-day weekend.

But did you know that employees do not have a statutory right to bank holiday entitlement, as it is dependent on the wording of employment contracts? For this reason, our Director of HR, Viv Tolley, suggests that employers should check employment contracts in order to determine whether employees have the right to have paid time off work on 3 June 2022, whilst not forgetting that the bank holiday can be granted as a gesture of goodwill where there is no automatic entitlement.

Contractual entitlement to take the additional bank holiday

If employees have a contractual right to paid time off on bank holidays, they will be entitled to take paid time off on Thursday 2 June, rather than the usual date in late May.

Whether employees are automatically entitled to the additional bank holiday on 3 June will depend on the wording of their employment contract. Below are a number of alternative phrases that we see in employment contracts and what they will mean for employers.

WHERE AN EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT STATES “[X] DAYS HOLIDAY PER ANNUM PLUS BANK HOLIDAYS”

Employees will have an automatic, contractual entitlement to take paid time off on the additional bank holiday. The wording in the contract is not limited to the usual bank holidays, meaning there is an entitlement to paid time off on all bank holidays, including any which are additional to the usual dates.

WHERE AN EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT STATES “[X] DAYS HOLIDAY PER ANNUM”

Where the contract is silent on the number of bank holidays, employees can book any bank holidays (including the additional one) as paid time off using their holiday allowance. However there will be no increase in holiday entitlement as a result of the additional bank holiday.

WHERE AN EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT STATES “[X] DAYS HOLIDAY PER ANNUM PLUS 8 BANK HOLIDAYS”

Again, the contract is effectively silent on which bank holidays may be taken, but limits the number to 8.  Employees can book any bank holidays (including the additional one) as paid time off using their holiday allowance. As they are entitled to 8 bank holidays, if an employee books the additional bank holiday as time off, they will lose their entitlement to one of the later bank holidays in the year.

WHERE THE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT LISTS EACH BANK HOLIDAY “[X] DAYS HOLIDAY PER ANNUM PLUS NEW YEAR’S DAY, GOOD FRIDAY, EASTER MONDAY ETC.”

There is no entitlement to the additional bank holiday when the bank holidays which are included within holiday entitlement are listed in the wording of the contract, such as: “[X] days holiday per annum plus New Year’s Day, Good Friday etc.

Granting the bank holiday where there is no automatic entitlement

Where employees are not automatically entitled to the additional bank holiday as paid time off, employers may wish to grant it to their employees as a gesture of goodwill. If it is not possible for all employees to take time off for business reasons, employers may provide time off in lieu as an alternative.

It is important that employers communicate with their employees well in advance about whether or not they will be required to work on the additional bank holiday in line with the terms of the contract.

If you would like any help on reviewing workplace policies, training or any other HR matter, please get in touch with Vivienne Tolley, HR Services Director.