The King’s Coronation – are employers required to give an extra day’s holiday?
This year there will be an additional bank holiday on 8 May 2023 to mark the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III.
This may leave employers questioning whether staff are entitled to take the day off as paid leave. The Working Time Regulations 1998 entitle workers to a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ annual leave. There is no statutory entitlement to paid time off for bank holidays. Therefore the answer ultimately depends on how the clause relating to holiday entitlement is worded within the employment contract.
If, for example, the employment contract states that they are entitled to X number of days’ holiday plus or inclusive of all bank holidays, this suggests that staff would be contractually entitled to take this additional bank holiday as annual leave. If employers need staff to work the Coronation bank holiday, they could offer workers a day off in lieu, which they can take at a later date.
If the employment contract states that they are entitled to X number of days’ holiday plus the “usual” or “eight” bank holidays, or it does not specifically refer to bank holidays at all, workers will not be entitled to an additional days’ holiday because the contract wording has been limited to the standard number of bank holidays observed in England and Wales. Employers can therefore require staff to work the Coronation bank holiday. If a worker is contractually entitled to a higher rate of pay for working a bank holiday, the employer must pay that higher rate if the contract does not specifically limit entitlement to the eight bank holidays. Where a worker wishes to take the day off, they may request to book it as holiday in the usual way using a day from their usual annual leave entitlement.
Employers should communicate to staff in advance their proposed arrangements for the Coronation bank holiday. Staff may expect employers to adopt the same approach to the Coronation bank holiday as the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday.
Ultimately, it will be the employer’s discretion as to whether they wish to grant the Coronation bank holiday as an additional day off where workers are not contractually entitled to it.
Employers may choose to give all staff the day off as a gesture of goodwill. This could help to boost morale and productivity and help retain talent.
Certainly, many schools will be closed. Employers should therefore be mindful of indirectly discriminating against mothers with child-caring responsibilities. Employers should consider allowing those employees to work from home, take unpaid parental leave or unpaid time off to provide emergency care for dependants depending on the circumstances.
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