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Uk Bank Holidays

This is all about employment laws in the UK with regard to entitlement to bank holidays.

Eight days a year, UK celebrates special bank holidays. These are 1) The New Year; 2) Good Friday; 3) Easter Day; 4) May Day; 5) Spring Bank Holiday; 6) Late Bank Summer Holiday; 7) Christmas Day; and 8) Boxing Day. Employers need to know several employment laws regarding these holidays to ensure that there will be no disputes from your employees regarding matters of entitlement.

To be perfectly clear on what your employees are entitled to, it would be best to return to your employee’s employment contracts. Remember that unless otherwise specified, your employees, in fact, do not have a right to take holidays off or even receive extra pay during bank holidays.  

Part-time employees should not be treated differently from full-time workers. They should be entitled to days off during bank holidays if the full-timers do. Ideally part time workers should at least be given a pro-rated pay during paid bank holidays regardless of whether they should be going to work during any of the bank holidays or not. This obligation of employers to the part time workers must be fulfilled according to the Part Time Workers Regulations 2000 more known as the Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment Regulation. This regulation stresses that part-time employees are entitled to the same favours as comparable full-timers though they are on a pro-rata basis.

All part-time employees should get pro-rated entitlement to bank holidays if their employment contracts state that bank holidays are included in their minimum holiday entitlement. They should also get pro-rated entitlement when employers allow their full-time employees holidays that are in excess of the statutory minimum holiday entitlement.

Employers should be made aware of how many bank holidays each part-time employee will benefit from compared to the total number of days that he or she comes to work. The employer should allow part time employees to have an extra holiday off if there is a short fall in the number of bank holidays that he or she will benefit from. This should be done to avoid feelings from part-timers of being less favoured than full-timers.

If it is written in the employment contracts that employees do not get bank holidays, employees are obliged to go to work and they cannot be excused even for religious reasons. However, employers should be made aware that this may be indirectly considered as religious discrimination especially to Christians who value Holy Week and Christmas Day. This situation puts Christians at a disadvantage because unlike other employees who don’t have any religion and those who have other religious beliefs, Christians will have to choose between practicing their religion or going to work.

If the employee’s contracts state that employees get bank holiday’s aside from the statutory minimum entitlement, the means that they get 8 more holidays aside from the minimum holiday requirement of 28 days making it total of 36 days. This figure is an increase from the old 20 day or 4 week statutory holiday minimum. Prior to this increase, employees would have had only a total of 20 days plus the 8 bank holidays. Employers should take time to check what is written in the contracts of their employees.

Many employee contracts, especially those made prior to the increase in statutory holidays have the “statutory entitlement plus bank holidays” clause. Previously this wording granted a leave of 20 days plus the 8 bank holidays. Now, employers should grant a leave of 28 days plus the 8 bank holidays. To avoid any untoward misunderstanding, it is important for employers to know what is stated in their employee’s contracts in order to avoid issues with their employees.

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