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Acas has published guidance for employers with regards to the extra bank holiday in June for the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

To mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee there will be an extra bank holiday on Tuesday 5 June. The last bank holiday in May has also been moved to Monday 4 June and in addition most schools have moved their half-term holiday to that week.

Acas predicts that employers may find themselves having to juggle extra leave requests and recommends that employers plan ahead to avoid last minute leave request clashes or short-term absences. It is worth noting that, an employer has the right to refuse a request for statutory minimum leave under the Working Time Regulations, as long as it gives notice which is at least as long as the holiday requested.

Acas stresses the importance of being as fair and consistent as possible by having a policy on how to manage time off and leave requests so that employees can join in the celebrations and employers can maintain morale at work.

Employers should also avoid discriminating against their staff when prioritising requests for time off. A holiday policy that gives priority to parents with young children so that they can spend the half-term holiday with them, for example, could discriminate against other staff on grounds of their age or sexual orientation. However, employers should not overlook entitlements to parental leave and time off for dependents.

Acas has produced the following specific guidance:

• There is no statutory right to bank/ public holidays, so the announcement of an extra bank holiday does not increase any entitlement to holiday under the Working Time Regulations.

• Whether an employee will benefit from the additional bank holiday will depend on the wording of their contract. For example, a contract which entitles a worker to, 20 days annual leave in addition to all statutory, bank and public holidays, would potentially give the worker an extra day’s paid holiday. But if public holidays are listed by name, in a contract, a worker may not be automatically entitled to the extra public holiday.

• There is no legal right to be paid any extra for working a bank holiday. This will depend on the terms of the employment contract.

Here is the ACAS guidance.

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We have an employee who works part time and as a result she never works on a Monday. Do we have to pay her for Bank Holiday Monday’s?

In 2007 the employment appeal tribunal ruled that a part time employee will only be entitled to claim paid leave on a bank holiday if their full time counterparts would be paid on a Bank Holiday AND  if the part time worker would usually have worked on that particular Bank Holiday. So you can work out whether that would apply in your case. 

The potential problem was that by refusing to give part time workers the same benefit as full time workers the employer was discriminating against part time workers in breach of the regulations which protect them.

However, the court held that although the employee does suffer a detriment it is not because she works part-time but simply because she doesn’t work on Mondays. 

ELE members will find more information on their ELE web service account.

Warm regards

Carolyn

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