How will an extra bank holiday impact workers?

What rights do employees/employers have if they do not want the bank holiday?

"When a bank holiday is awarded there is no statutory right to time off: whether an employee is entitled or not will depend upon the specific wording of the contract of employment. If an employee is not entitled to additional bank holidays, they could request annual leave through their usual processes.

"If it falls during term time, parents would have to find alternative childcare if they don’t take annual leave, but they may have the right to time off for dependants if there are unforeseen circumstances."

Can employees take the day off another time?

"It will depend upon what the contract of employment states as to whether a bank holiday must be taken on the specific day that it falls as decided by the Government, or whether there is some flexibility.

"Employees may have to work on the bank holiday itself but then take the day off at another time. An employee, in this situation, could request to take it as annual leave, but this will then be down to the employer to decide whether they can authorise it.

"As to whether an employee can take unpaid leave, it will ultimately be at the discretion of the employer as to whether they allow this.

"The wider implications will need to be considered, for example, how they would choose between employees if multiple requests are received."

Do employers have to give the bank holiday even if they prefer not to?

"Whether an employer must give their employees a bank holiday will depend upon what their contract of employment states.

"A contract may state that staff have “20 days’ annual leave plus eight bank holidays which will not entitle staff to the additional day.

"However, if the contract does not set out the specific days which are allocated as bank holidays, for example Christmas Day, then the employee could request to take an additional bank holiday and then work one of the other bank holidays later in the leave year.

"If a contract entitles staff to 28 days including bank holidays, there will be no obligation to provide an extra day off. Meanwhile, other contracts may state “20 days’ annual leave plus bank holidays”, which will mean that they are entitled to any additional bank holidays granted by the government."

-As seen in Your Money, 18 August 2023

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