An additional bank holiday has been announced in 2012 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee on Tuesday, 5th June. The traditional May bank holiday at the end of May is being moved to Monday, 4th June. Buckingham Palace is arranging a programme of celebrations which will take place over this extended bank holiday weekend.
Here are ten top tips to consider when deciding whether or not to give this additional day to your staff -
Are your employees entitled to take this additional bank holiday as leave?
Many employees will assume that they have the right to take the day off work but there is no statutory right for employees to take bank/public holidays as leave and so some employees will not be entitled to take this day off. Entitlement is dependent upon the wording in the employee’s contract of employment.
Check your employees’ contractual rights
Some contracts state that employees are entitled to all bank holidays in which case they will have the right to take this additional day off. Some expressly state that employees are entitled to eight bank holidays and often list them, in which case these would not be entitled to the day off. Others are less clear and may state that employees are entitled to the “usual” bank holidays in which case the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee could never be described as a “usual” holiday and so these employees would not be entitled to the day off.
If there’s no contractual obligation to close the business, decide whether or not to close.
Some organisations such as shops, garages and hospitals will require to remain open. If you decide to close the business that day, you will need to decide whether to grant this as an additional day or will employees be required to take this day from their annual holiday entitlement.
If you are to remain open for business on the Diamond Jubilee Holiday you will need to consider staffing levels very soon and communicate to employees how you will deal with holiday requests at that time and how the business will operate.
Give notice to employees who need to use a day of their holiday entitlement
If you decide to close on 5th June and require your employees to reserve a day of their holiday entitlement, you must give them proper notice as required under the Working Time Regulations 1998.
Will there be a drop in staff morale if we decide to remain open?
This is always a possibility if other members of their family are being given a day off and you could in fact boost the morale of your staff, as a gesture of good employee relations, by granting all employees an additional day of leave and not deduct this from their annual holiday entitlement.
Consider how to handle leave requests if your business is to remain open
Given that schools will be closed over the bank holiday period, it is highly likely that employees with children will need to take the day off in order to care for them. There will also be parties and celebrations for which employees may wish to take time off. Decide well in advance how you will deal with competing requests for time off , making sure that your procedure is fair and reasonable.
What do we pay employees if they work on 5th June?
Check the wording of your contracts in respect of the rates of pay on bank holidays. There is no statutory right to receive a higher rate of pay on a bank holiday and so in the absence of any contractual provision, it would be expected that employees will received their normal rate of pay. If there is no contractual provision, consider what you pay on any other bank holiday and treat the additional day in the same way.
What if they all call in sick?
We recommend that you clearly communicate to all employees well in advance that unauthorised absence over that period will be carefully monitored and they will be required to account for their absence. If employees are absent without good reason then you should investigate each individual situation and follow your disciplinary procedure as appropriate. Careful planning and good communication will hopefully reduce the risk of absenteeism.
What about part-time employees?
If bank holidays are pro rated for part-time employees, you will need to take this additional day into account when calculating the employee’s 2012 entitlement.