Time to check your Bank Holiday policy

Mark Serby of Wake Smith
Mark Serby of Wake Smith

A SHEFFIELD lawyer is warning employers to clarify company policy surrounding holiday entitlement in the run-up to the royal wedding Bank Holiday.

But as millions look forward to a long weekend, Mark Serby, head of the employment team at Wake Smith & Tofields, is advising clients to check their terms of employment as many businesses may not be legally obliged to honour the holiday.

Mr Serby said: “Employees do not have an automatic right to paid leave on bank holidays. Although employers often do close on such days, they are not legally required to do so. The only legal obligation on an employer is to allow workers a minimum annual leave as stipulated in the Working Time Regulations 1998 – 28 days for a full time worker.”

For an employee to be entitled to the royal wedding bank holiday in addition to the usual eight bank holidays, it will be necessary for their employment contract to state that the employee is entitled to ‘20 days holiday per year plus bank holidays’.

The alternative is that the employment contract states that the employee is entitled to ‘5.6 weeks holiday per year including bank holidays’ or ‘28 days holiday per year including bank holidays’.

In this case the employer is entitled to require employees to take the day of the wedding out of their holiday allowance.

Mr Serby added: “The best approach may be to allow employees to have the day off in addition to any contractual holidays to maintain goodwill – in any case, making the workforce clear of the details well in advance of the big day itself is just as important.”