The Coronation of Kings Charles III takes place next month (May 2023), and to celebrate the UK will have an extra bank holiday. In this article, I cover what this means for employers.
The Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III and Her Majesty The Queen Consort will take place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday May 6, 2023. The following Monday (May 8) will be an extra bank holiday, so employers need to be aware of how this affects their business.
Is every worker entitled to the extra bank holiday?
Whether or not an individual worker is entitled to bank holidays should be covered by their contract of employment. The UK had two extra bank holidays in 2022, to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee and death, so companies should be well prepared to deal with the HR considerations.
Remember that there is no statutory right for members of staff to enjoy bank holidays as paid holiday. If bank holidays are not covered in written contracts, an individual’s right to bank holidays will be based on a company’s usual practices, or verbal agreements.
What actions should employers take?
You need to know where you stand legally, so employers should refer to their contracts of employment. If the wording says staff are entitled “to all bank and public holidays”, the extra bank holiday should be treated as additional leave. Businesses cannot demand that employees work on public holidays, but can offer a day in lieu to be taken at a later date.
Your company’s contracts may specify an exact number of public holidays, as well as the amount of annual leave allowed. In this instance, workers can ask for the day off, but this will be taken from their annual entitlement. While employers do not need to automatically accept holiday requests, I recommend that there needs to be a good reason for refusal (e.g. staff shortages or other strong business cases).
If your business plans to open on the extra bank holiday, you will need to consider disruption to public transport on the day. If you are based in the London area, expect longer travel times and delays, so be more lenient with late attendance. Also, some people may be concerned about commuting during a high-profile event. Try to be considerate and adopt flexible working times to avoid peak periods.
While there is no mandatory requirement for employers to allow staff to watch the TV coverage of the Coronation, employers should understand the historical importance of the event.
Should staff get extra pay?
Regardless of whether a staff member is entitled to public holidays, there is no statutory right to offer extra pay as a reward. Of course, this will ultimately depend upon the terms of their contract and the common practice at your company.
The ideal solution depends upon the nature of your work and your location. For example, hospitality businesses in London will expect an increase in demand over the bank holiday weekend. In this instance, employers will need to have conversations with their workers to ensure they have sufficient staffing levels. As an incentive, pubs and restaurants may choose to offer overtime pay or additional holiday time.
If you require staff to work on the bank holiday, you could cancel any planned annual leave. However, I would advise you avoid this option at all costs as it can have a negative impact on trust and morale.
Whatever the situation at your company, the approach to extra bank holidays needs to be consistent and fair. If you are unsure how to proceed, you should seek professional advice. JT HRConsultancy is an established HR services company based in Bedfordshire with clients across the UK. If you need help of advice on an employment issue, contact me today.