There will be nine bank holidays in England in 2022, including an extra bank holiday to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee on 3 June.

Additionally, Christmas is fast approaching, bringing two bank holidays on 27 and 28 December this year.

As a result, employers may be asking themselves a multitude of questions.

To help, our expert team have put together a useful guide, highlighting all you need to know.

Are employees automatically entitled to time off on bank holidays?

The answer to this question depends on the employment contract. It is advisable for employers to carefully check the wording of these and communicate with their staff on what is expected as outlined in their agreement.

Employees do not always have an automatic right to paid time off on a bank holiday, but this will occasionally be offered as a gesture of goodwill. This is, however, the choice of the employer.

What if an employee refuses to work on a bank holiday?

If an employee’s contract does not allow the right to time off but they refuse to work, this can be treated as a disciplinary issue.

However, if their contract states that they are entitled to take bank holidays as annual leave, the employer cannot force the employee to work, and no disciplinary action may be taken.

Should employees be paid extra for working on bank holidays?

If an employee works on a bank holiday, there is no statutory right to extra pay, and the rate of pay they will receive should be included in their contract.

It’s important to note that if an employee has been paid extra on a bank holiday in the past, e.g., half or double time, then it may be that this becomes a contractual entitlement.

What are the guidelines for part-time employees?

It is essential that part-time employees and full-time employees are treated equally, and that they have at least the statutory minimum annual leave entitlement.

If full-time employees are being paid on bank holidays, to avoid claims of discrimination and unfair treatment, part-time employees must be provided with a prorated bank holiday entitlement.

As they are still eligible for 5.6 weeks paid holiday, this is calculated by the number of days worked a week x 5.6.

What if the workplace is closed over Christmas?

If your company is closed for a period over Christmas, it is within an employer’s right to force their employees to take paid holiday during this time.

However, if a bank holiday falls on a normal working day when the workplace is open, and the employee does not want to take the day off, they can request to work the bank holiday and take another day off in its place.

Employers need to be mindful of what is specified in their written terms and conditions of employment, ensuring a good level of communication is maintained, and that guidelines are clearly established.

Need help? Get in touch today.