Bank Holiday advice for employers

By February 26, 2019Advice, Holidays

Are you aware of how to manage bank holidays in your organisation? It’s not quite as simple as giving everyone the day off – the action you take will depend on the terms of an employee’s contract of employment.


Here are our tips for managing bank holidays correctly:


1. There is no statutory right for employees to take bank holidays off work. Any right to time off depends on the terms of the employee’s contract of employment. Employers can decide whether to give time off or not depending on their business needs.


If an employee is not given time off for bank holidays, they still need to receive 5.6 working weeks of annual leave as a minimum.


2. When an employee works on a bank holiday, there is no statutory right to extra pay – for example time-and-a-half or double pay. Again, it depends on the terms of the employee’s contract of employment.


3. A part-time worker has the right not to be treated less favourably than a comparable full-time worker. This includes entitlement to bank holidays.


Part-time workers can be provided with a pro-rata allowance of bank holidays, regardless of whether they normally work these days as this allows them the same treatment with regards to annual leave entitlement.


4. Employees required to work on bank holidays under the terms of their employment contract cannot refuse to work, even for religious reasons.


Employers can justify such a policy if they have a legitimate aim and their means of achieving this are proportionate. Employers should examine each request on its own merits to determine if this can be granted to remove the risk of indirect discrimination.


5. Where employers give employees a contractual right to receive time off work for bank holidays, the wording in the contract is important. For example, a contract stating the employee has 28 days plus bank holidays means they receive 28 days’ holiday with the bank holidays in addition.


A clause stating the employee has 28 days inclusive of bank holidays generally means the employee gets 20 days’ holiday and 8 days’ holiday to take for bank holidays, in England and Wales.


Employers also need to be aware that the timing of their holiday leave year could result in the employee receiving more time off in one year than the other. This is especially important when the holiday year runs from April to March, and Easter falls earlier than usual.


It is important that the employee is still receiving their minimum holiday entitlement in the year with fewer bank holidays.


Bank holidays in 2019

Tue 1 Jan 2019

Wed 2 Jan 2019 (Scotland only)

Mon 18 Mar 2019 (NI only)

Fri 19 Apr 2019

Mon 22 Apr 2019 (except Scotland)

Mon 6 May 2019

Mon 27 May 2019

Fri 12 Jul 2019 (NI only)

Mon 5 Aug 2019 (Scotland only)

Mon 26 Aug 2019 (except Scotland)

Mon 2 Dec 2019 (Scotland only)

Wed 25 Dec 2019

Thu 26 Dec 2019


For more information on how to manage Bank Holidays, please get in touch with a Deminos advisor on 020 7870 1090.

Author David Ralph

More posts by David Ralph

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