Do my staff have the right to time off on bank holidays?
Can I make staff work on bank holidays?
What’s the law around bank holidays?
These are just some of the questions we’re often asked by our clients when a bank holiday approaches… In this article, we look at the law around bank holidays to answer some of your questions around what can often be a confusing topic for Employers.
Employees often believe they have a right to time off work on a bank holiday, but this is untrue.
There’s no official requirement that workers work on bank holidays; rather, this is governed by their employment contract. The employer’s stance on this will typically be influenced by the nature of the business operations and commercial requirements.
You need to check the specific wording within their contract carefully, as this will make clear what your position on time off for bank holidays is. If you only offer the statutory minimum (5.6 weeks) holiday, you’ll need to give time off in lieu for working on a bank holiday as otherwise you’ll be giving under the minimum allowance.
There’s no requirement to pay over the standard hourly/daily rate for working a bank holiday, contrary to popular belief. You can of course offer this as an incentive if a bank holiday is a non-working day for a particular employee, or as a gesture of good will to motivate staff. Of course, ensure that you’re paying NMW or usual contractual pay where this is higher.
If employees request annual leave on a bank holiday that would usually have been a normal working day, you can treat this request as you would any other according to your holidays policy. If there’s a business need to refuse the request, you’re within your rights to do so. You could also arrange a ‘shift swap’, banked time off in lieu or unpaid leave as a last resort.
Depending on the wording of their contract, if someone works part-time, they’re entitled to request holiday on a bank holiday on a pro-rata basis – subject to your agreement. If the worker isn’t contracted to work Mondays for example, they won’t usually automatically be entitled to time off on a bank holiday Monday or TOIL to compensate.
The 2022 August bank holiday weekend is fast approaching. You should therefore remind your workforce that Monday 29th is a bank holiday and confirm whether or not you require them to work. As an employer, making clear the arrangements with plenty of notice is not only helpful for employees to get organised, but will save you stress down the line of last minute requests and possible absences on the day.
You could also consider offering incentives such as snacks or meals, a relaxed dress code etc. to boost productivity and motivation for staff who are obliged or choose to work on a bank holiday.
If you have any queries around bank holiday working, or anything else HR, Employment Law or H&S related, please contact us at [email protected] or on 0161 603 2156 to see how we can help ease your worries and help your business flourish.