There are common misunderstandings in relation to Bank holidays. Here we try to clarify some common areas where employers ask us for clarification:

Your employees are not entitled to a day off – There is a difference between what is practice in the market and what employees are entitled to. Workers are entitled to 28 days paid holiday. As long as you provide this throughout the year, you can choose whether or not to close on a bank holiday.

There is no obligation to pay a higher rate for working on a bank holiday – Unless you’ve said otherwise in your employees’ contracts, you can pay staff their standard rate on a bank holiday.

There is no obligation to give your worker leave on a bank holiday – It is within your right to treat a leave request for a bank holiday like any other request.  So you can refuse the request for the holiday if you have a valid business reason – like if you haven’t enough staff to cover their shift.

2022 will have an extra bank holiday – With the Queen’s 70th anniversary next year, there’s an extra holiday on Friday 3 June. So plan ahead so that your business is ready for this extra holiday.

Best Practice is to be clear about Bank holidays in your employee handbook or contract of employment – Staff should be able to clearly access your policy in an employee handbook – and if you do allow leave on bank holidays then you should follow this. 

Please keep in mind that entitlement, market practice and employee expectations are three very different things. So the above sets out your entitlements as an employer. However, you may wish to be more lenient in your policies to reflect your culture and ensure that you continue to be competitive in attracting great talent. We can give you tailored advice in this area.

If you are a business based in the Thames Valley, Berkshire or London and looking for one off or ongoing HR support then you can contact us through our website www.optimahr.co.uk or alternatively you can call us on 0203 086 8387. We offer free 30-minute HR consultation on any HR topic.