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Banking on an extra day’s holiday?

30/11/2017

No sooner had the nation learned that actress Meghan Markle was to be the next royal bride when she weds Prince Harry in May, the next question on many people’s lips was “will we get a day off work?”

A one-off Bank Holiday was given for the marriage of his brother Prince William to his future Queen but the Prime Minister Theresa May has initially indicated that there’ll be no extra day’s leave when the latest loved up couple tie the knot.

But, if she is persuaded to let the country join in the celebrations with an additional day away from the office, what do employers need to know? Julia Fitzsimmons, a Partner in our Employment Team, has this advice:

There’s no doubt a royal wedding is good for the economy. Not just for manufacturers of commemorative tea towels and mugs, but predominantly the hospitality and leisure industries that will experience increased consumer spending particularly pubs, bars restaurants and hotels as people take advantage of some extra downtime.

However, in a month that already has two Bank Holidays, another day off could come at a cost to industries like manufacturing so the Government has no doubt thought long and hard about whether to make the wedding of Harry and Meghan a public holiday.

But if the Prime Minister changes her mind and grants an additional Bank Holiday, what are an employer’s legal obligations?

First, you need to determine whether the additional bank holiday is to be given as a day's holiday and whether it is to be a paid or unpaid.

Make sure you check out the contractual position before you make a ruling. If your contract states employees are given a set number of days for holiday, for example 28 days including bank holidays, then you may wish to increase their leave entitlement.

If your contracts list bank holidays separately, you don’t have to include an additional holiday. However, if it states that employees will be paid for Bank Holidays without further detail, you may be contractually obliged to award the additional day off with pay.

Even if you are not obliged to let your staff have a day’s paid leave, you may decide to do so for good employee relations, making it clear that it’s not a contractual entitlement but a one-off gesture of goodwill to celebrate the royal wedding.

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Julia on 01952 208420 or j.fitzsimmons@fbcmb.co.uk

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