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Holidays for employees: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee there will be an extra bank holiday in June. This has been scheduled for 5 June 2012. So will you have to pay your employees for the additional bank holiday?

Under The Working Time Regulations 1998 (the "Regulations") all employees (and workers) are entitled to receive a minimum of 5.6 weeks' annual leave per year if they work full-time.  This equates to 28 days per year. 

This entitlement should be calculated on a pro rata basis for employees who work part-time, in accordance with the hours or days which they work.   The Regulations do not specify that time off includes the right to paid time off for bank holidays.  Instead, it is for the parties to agree in the contract of employment whether or not bank holidays are included in the holiday entitlement.

Whether or not your employee is entitled to the additional bank holiday as paid leave will depend on what your contract of employment states.  If your contract gives the employee 20 days annual leave plus statutory, bank and public holidays, then they will be entitled to the Diamond Jubilee as an additional day's paid holiday.  Alternatively, if the contract says that the employee is entitled to take named bank holidays, which are specified in their contract, then their entitlement will not cover the additional day.  Similarly, if your contract gives 28 days annual leave (including bank holidays) then the Diamond Jubilee bank holiday will need to come out of their overall holiday entitlement for the year.

Don't forget to look at the position for your part-time workers.   The best way to calculate entitlement is to pro-rate holiday entitlement, including bank holidays, to reflect the number of days worked.  To avoid claims against the practice, that the employee has been treated less favourably because of their part-time status, part-time workers should receive a proportionate amount of holiday leave when compared to their full-time equivalent.

Victoria Patterson is an employment solicitor at specialist primary healthcare law firm Veale Wasbrough Vizards. 

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