The Government announced on 10 September 2022 that Monday, 19 September 2022, will be a bank holiday to coincide with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral. The advice to employers is that the day will operate in the same way as other bank holidays, with no statutory entitlement to time off.
This places responsibility in the hands of employers to determine whether that day would constitute paid leave or not, and other considerations such as whether to offer time off in lieu for those employees needing to work?
Given the understandable desire to act in a consistent manner, some NAS members have asked for advice on the subject. However, as discretion has been given to employers, it is not possible to offer definitive advice on the subject. Instead, we recommend the following:
- Decide your organisational approach – If you decide that all staff will be given paid leave, then there is ultimately nothing further for you to consider. If you decide that some or all employees must work, then you should ensure that your discretion is applied in a way that is consistent with your contracts of employment.
- Check your contracts of employment – If an employment contract states that an employee is entitled to bank holidays in addition to their annual leave entitlement, you will need to check whether the number of bank holidays is stated. If the number of days is not specified, it should be interpreted that Monday is an additional day of leave. However, if the contract states that the employee is entitled to eight bank holidays or the “usual” bank holidays, or bank holidays are included in an employee’s annual leave entitlement of a set number of days, the employer will not be required to give the upcoming bank holiday as an additional day of leave.
Many people working in the sector will be employed in keeping with the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) Working Rule Agreement. Where applicable, it should be noted that there is no agreed position from the CIJC on the bank holiday. It has, today, published a statement for the employers. It reads:
The sad event leading to next Monday’s bank holiday could not be anticipated and was not provided for in the CIJC Working Rule Agreement, Holiday Entitlement 2022.
Guidance on how employers may choose to approach time off and payment for this additional bank holiday has been issued by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
The information includes that, ‘There is no statutory entitlement for time off for bank holidays’, and ‘We also expect employers to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take the day of the funeral off work’.
In practice, with the short notice of the bank holiday, its affect, and the great variety of operational work/numerous work locations planned for next Monday, there will be operatives required to work and others not required to work.
Consequently, taking all relevant factors that apply into account, it will be for each business/employer to determine how they will view the day, and whether time off, paid or unpaid, will be given.
Despite the advice from the CIJC that mirrors that of the Government, it should be noted that its Holiday Entitlement 2022 stated the following in respect of the additional Jubilee bank holiday earlier this year:
- The additional bank holiday was not subject to bank holiday accrual and was awarded to operatives who were in employment on that day
- If an operative was required to work that day, they were entitled to a day ‘in lieu’ to be taken in the remaining holiday year
- Working Rule 19.4 did not apply and there were no additional payments for working on that specific bank holiday.
This information is therefore being provided as a tool to help employers make the decisions that a right for themselves and their employees. Any NAS members who have specific queries following this advice, can contact our Citation on 0345 844 4848, quoting the Advice Card Number available in the Member’s Area of the NAS website.