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Managing Annual Leave: Additional Bank Holidays

At the start of a new year, we usually see employees starting to plan and book annual leave for the year ahead. In 2022 though, there are several things coming up that an employer will need to consider and plan for which relate to their employees taking time off from the workplace.

In 2022, we will see some employees being afforded an additional bank holiday of Friday 3 June, which is being awarded to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Employment contracts and annual leave

The contract of employment though will determine whether an employee will have the right to this bank holiday. Where there is no contractual entitlement, an employer may still wish to consider offering this additional bank holiday as a gesture of goodwill to recognise that many people may wish to spend time with family and friends at the time.

This though is a decision for the company and if taken, should be made clear to the workforce that it is a discretional decision on this occasion and that no precedent is set for how any future additional bank holidays are managed.

So, how do you know from the contract of employment if an employee is legally entitled to the additional bank holiday of 3 June? It will likely be within the holiday entitlement section, and it is how this section is worded that will be key:

  1. If the contract states that an employee is entitled to 20 days plus bank holidays. This wording would mean the employee would have a contractual entitlement to the additional bank holiday.
  2. If the contract states an employee is entitled to 20 days holiday plus 8 bank holidays, then this limits the employee to only the 8 in the 2022 holiday year (although it could be agreed as to which of the nine bank holiday dates are taken).
  3. If the contract states an employee is entitled to 28 days or 5.6 weeks including bank holidays, then the employee again would not be entitled to the additional bank holiday on 3 June.
  4. If the contract states bank holidays are a normal working day and that it states that 8 bank holidays are given, then there would be no legal entitlement to the 9th bank holiday of the 3 June.

It is important to check the contract of employment and there may be other statements made to the examples showing above.

Upcoming changes in 2022

A further change relating to the bank holidays in 2022, is that the spring bank holiday which usually occurs at the end of May will be moved from Monday 30 May to Thursday 2 June to coincide with the additional bank holiday and extend the long weekend celebrating the platinum jubilee.

Separate to bank holidays, but still an important holiday issue for employers is to consider the emergency legislation that was implemented back in March 2020 which amended the Working Time Regulations. This emergency legislation allowed workers to carry over up to four weeks’ annual leave into the next two holiday years where it has not been reasonably practicable for them to take it due to COVID-19. 2022 is therefore the last year in which to carry over annual leave. The government provides guidance to employers on what may be reasonably practicable, which includes:

  • Whether the business faced significant increase in demand due to the pandemic that would reasonably require workers to continue to be at work.
  • The extent to which the business’ workforce is disrupted by the pandemic and the practical options available to provide temporary cover of essential activities.
  • The length of time remaining in the workers’ leave year to enable the worker to take holiday later within the leave year.

Further information

If you require any HR advice on your contracts of employment or on how to manage this additional bank holiday in your workplace, then please do get in touch and speak with one of our HR Consultants.

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