Jubilee bank holiday

Platinum Jubilee Bank Holidays – are they for everyone?

Red, white, and blue bunting has started to appear everywhere as we head closer to The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.  Last-minute preparations are being made for the thousands of Street Parties taking place up and down the country, and the media are full of the official celebrations being held over the 4-day extended bank holiday weekend.

To mark Queen Elizabeth’s 70th anniversary of ascending to the throne, the late May bank holiday was moved from the traditional last Monday of the month to Thursday 2nd June, and an additional bank holiday was granted for Friday 3rd June.

The big question we are being asked as HR professionals is…who is eligible for taking the extra bank holiday?

To answer that we need to establish the terms of the employee’s employment contract in relation to what their usual working schedule is:

  • Annual Leave Plus Bank Holidays – if an employee’s contract specifies that they have x number of days of annual leave plus bank holidays then they are entitled to take the additional bank holiday date
  • Annual Leave Inclusive of Bank Holidays – for those contracts where bank holidays are included in the number of days of holidays they receive, then the additional bank holiday will only be given as paid leave at the employer’s discretion.
  • Annual Leave Plus Usual Bank Holidays – as the additional bank holiday date is not usual in that it doesn’t take place every year, then they wouldn’t automatically be entitled to take this under the terms of their contract.  Again, it is at the discretion of their employer.
  • Usually work Bank Holidays – for those employees who do normally work on bank holidays then this would be considered part of their working pattern and therefore may be expected to work on this extra day.  Typically, these employees will have a slightly increased pay rate to compensate them for working on a bank holiday.
  • Part-time Employees – their eligibility will depend on the wording of their contract; however pro-rata adjustments may be needed if they usually don’t work on these days.
  • Maternity / Paternity Leave – employees currently on leave will accrue annual leave based on the detail of their employment contract.

What should you do next?

  • Do check the detail of the employment contracts so you understand the situation fully.
  • Be consistent – if you have previously given people additional bank holidays off for example for William and Kate’s Royal Wedding in 2011 – then do consider how they will feel if you don’t do the same this time. 
  • If either the nature of your business or current workloads and deadlines mean that your business does need to remain open and employees are required for those days, then consider how many people are needed and discuss this with your employees.  Some may be happy to volunteer to work for days off in lieu or additional pay so that others can take the days as bank holidays.
  • If your business doesn’t need to remain open those two days and you are able to give your employees the time off, this is an excellent opportunity to boost morale and strengthen your relationship with your team, the long-term effect of which is likely to help with future productivity.

The key takeaway is to review your contracts and company policies and provide clear and timely communication to your employees…and you don’t have long!

For help and guidance contact Kirsty Craig Associates.

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