Another Bank Holiday?
Following amendments to the Working Time Regulations 1996 to allow for 8 (the minimum across the UK) bank holidays, many employers still have employment contracts that provide for “20 days leave plus public & bank holidays”. In theory (and most years), this should not cause any problems – 20 days plus 8 bank holidays. However, this approach doesn’t work so well for employers in Scotland (9 bank holidays per year) and Northern Ireland (10 bank holidays per year). Employees in England & Wales may also benefit more than their employers intended in both 2011 & 2012 – it has already been announced that 2012 will include a bank holiday for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, but today the Prime Minister indicated his preference for a bank holiday in 2011 – to mark the royal wedding.
The simple option to this is to have employment contracts that provide 28 days leave a year. Employers can then decide if they require staff to take a day’s leave on a bank holiday (reasonable & common practice) or if they do want to give staff the extra day off in either 2011 or 2012, the employer can then provide this. The difference is then that the employer (rather than the government) is giving the staff more time-off, and the employer may well then benefit from extra goodwill of staff.
To get advice on having your employment contracts amended, contact Employment Law Clinic.
Update: The Privy Council made a proclamation at its meeting of 15 December 2010 for Friday, 29 April 2011 to be a bank holiday across the UK.