On 8th September 2022, Queen Elizabeth II, the longest living and reigning British monarch passed away at the age of 96.
Following Her Majesty’s death, the Country entered into a period of national mourning that will last for 10 days. This has seen events cancelled across the United Kingdom as a mark of respect.
King Charles III, during his meeting with the privy council, announced the day of his mother’s funeral is to be a bank holiday, in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
On Saturday 11th September, the UK Government officially announced the date of the State Funeral will be Monday 19th September 2022.
Her Majesty’s Funeral
The State Funeral of Her Majesty will take place on Monday 19th September at Westminster Abbey at 11 am.
The UK Government said making this day a bank holiday, allows individuals, businesses and other organisations to be able to pay their respects to Her Majesty and to commemorate her reign.
What does this mean for employers and employees?
This extra bank holiday is to operate in the same way as other bank holidays do, which means there is no statutory entitlement to time off.
Employers and employees will question what this extra bank holiday means for them as they will want to know whether or not they are entitled to take this extra day off work.
Usually, there are 8 Bank Holidays in a calendar year in England and Wales which are:
- New Year’s Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- Early May Bank Holiday
- Spring Bank Holiday
- Summer Bank Holiday
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
Earlier in 2022 we saw an extra bank holiday being granted to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee.
Are Employees entitled to the extra bank holiday?
It all depends on the wording in an employee’s contract of employment. If the contract:
- lists the bank holidays that employees are entitled to
- states they are entitled to the 8 bank holidays
- or states entitled to the usual or standard bank holidays
there would be no right for an employee to be allowed to have the additional bank holiday given to them as a bank holiday.
If the contract says:
- holiday entitlement includes the bank holidays and does not include a list of which or when the bank holidays are or states the usual or standard bank holidays,
the employee would be entitled to the extra day off as a bank holiday as this extra day is recognised as a bank holiday.
The Department for Business has said that as much as Saturday’s announcement of a bank holiday for the Queen’s Funeral does not interfere with any existing contractual rights between employers and their employees, they would look and expect for employers to respond in a sensitive manner to any requests from employees who wish to take the day off for Her Majesty’s funeral.
All schools will be expected to close for the day.
Possible options available for employees if not entitled to the bank holiday
- If there is no right to the extra day bank holiday, employers can decide to allow employees the extra day off as a gesture of goodwill and a mark of respect to Her Majesty.
- Businesses can decide to close for the day and request employees to use one of their annual leave days for this day – the same as some do for Christmas shutdowns. This would need to be communicated to employees in advance of them being required to take the time off. Usually, it would be double the notice of the time off that would need to be given.
- Employees could offer a half-and-half deal, by allowing employees to make up 50% of their daily hours to have the day off and allow them the additional 50% of the time off as paid time off (or split into a different percentage).
- Employees could use their holiday entitlement if they wished to have the day off (if the Company remained open).
- Employees could take the day as unpaid leave.
Employees Working the Bank Holiday
If employees are required to work Monday the 19th of September, due to business requirements, options available to them would include:
- Day off in lieu to be taken at a mutually agreed time
- Overtime payment to be made for the hours worked
If you need any further help or advice on holidays and absence, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us on 0330 175 6601 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org