Are your employees entitled to take time off for the queen’s platinum jubilee bank holiday

Many employers are asking whether their employees are entitled to take time off for the additional bank holiday in June 2022 to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The Spring bank holiday, which usually falls at the end of May, has been moved this year to the 2 June 2022. In addition, to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee there will be an extra bank holiday on 3 June 2022. This will result in a four-day long weekend. 

The Platinum Jubilee bank holiday will mean that the rather than the usual eight bank holidays this year there are nine bank holidays. Many of our employer clients have asked whether they are required to give the additional bank holiday to their employees as an extra day of leave. The answer is that it depends on the terms in the employment contract.

Review your employment contracts

Employers should check the employee’s employment contract to see how the holiday entitlement terms are worded.

If the employment contract indicates that an employee is entitled to bank holidays in addition to their annual holiday entitlement but it does not state the number or specific days of the bank holidays, it will be interpreted that employees will be entitled to holiday on all bank holidays. This year that will include the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee bank holiday in June.

Alternatively, if the employment contract says that the employee is entitled to eight bank holidays or the “usual” bank holidays, or states that bank holidays are included in the employee’s annual holiday entitlement of X days, the employer will not be required to give the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee as an additional day of paid holiday.

The following are some examples of common wording included in employment contracts. We have explained what the interpretation of the example wording will be this year.

Contract clauseDoes this trigger an entitlement to an additional bank holiday?
The employee is entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday per holiday year (inclusive of bank holidays in England and Wales).No, the contract does not provide for an additional entitlement to the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday in this clause. This means that the employer can choose whether to agree that an employee can take time off on the extra bank holiday. Holiday is limited to 28 days in total so if employees are given this day off as holiday (or a day in lieu), this will reduce the number of days left for them to take on the days they choose. 
The employee is entitled to 20 days’ paid holiday per annum plus bank holidays in England and Wales.Yes, the number of bank holidays are not specified and therefore this would be read this year as the right to take time off on the 9 bank holidays.
The employee is entitled to 20 days’ paid holiday per annum plus bank holidays in England and Wales or a day in lieu where required to work.Yes, the employee is entitled to the additional bank holiday. However, the employer can require the employee to work on any of the bank holiday. If required to work the employer must give the employee a day in lieu.
The employee is entitled to 20 days’ paid holiday per annum plus the usual bank and public holidays in England and Wales.No, the employee is entitled to the ‘usual’ eight bank holidays, which will not include the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee bank holiday. If the employee wants to take the extra bank holiday as a day of leave, they will need to request it in the usual way and use one of their days of holiday.

In addition to contractual wording, employers should also consider what they did in previous years with an additional bank holiday (the year of the royal wedding when William and Kate married is an example year). If employers gave the additional day of holiday previously, then employees may consider that it is an implied term of their contract that they will be given it again on this occasion.

It is important that part-time employees are treated in the same way as their full-time colleagues, with entitlements pro-rated to reflect their working hours .

Regardless of the contract terms, employer may decide to give this as a day of leave anyway. If they do this is likely to be well received by employees. It may help employers to retain and incentivise employees during what has been coined “the Great Resignation”.

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