May 4, 2020

Bank Holidays – Six Things You Need to Know

This year, there are some additional complications to bank holidays. The May Day bank holiday has been moved to coincide with VE day, employers need to consider how to handle bank holidays during furlough and there’s the prospect of an additional bank holiday in October.

So, here’s six important things you need to know about bank holidays for 2020.

Most of the UK has eight permanent bank holidays each year: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring Bank Holiday, August Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Traditionally, except for the festive bank holidays, these take place on a Monday.

However, to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the government has moved the May Day 2020 Bank Holiday from Monday 4th May to Friday 8th May, meaning that Monday 4th May is now a normal working day. This has the potential to cause disruption to many businesses across the country.

Six things you need to know about Bank Holidays and Employee Entitlements

1. There is no statutory right for employees to have bank holidays off work

Bank holidays are a normal day’s holiday and are part of an employee’s annual leave entitlement. Any right to time off depends on the terms of your employee’s contract of employment. Some companies choose to close on bank holidays and require employees to use a day’s holiday out of their entitlement. So instead of an employee requesting to take holidays on a particular day, the company is telling them to take a day’s holiday.

2. There is no statutory right to extra pay when working on a bank holiday

If you require an employee to work on a bank holiday there is no legal requirement to enhance pay. It will depend on what is written in their contracts of employment.

3. Check the wording in your contract ahead of VE day

If your staff work bank holidays, May Day being replaced by the 75th anniversary of VE Day should not cause any issues. If this is not the case, you need to check the wording of your employee’s contract of employment. If the contract states ‘annual leave plus bank holidays’, ‘May Day’ or ‘Early May Bank Holiday’ then this would mean their day off will automatically shift to the Friday this year. However, if the contract states ‘the first Monday in May’ or ‘4th May’ employees are still entitled to this day off as holiday even though it is now a normal working day. But they would have to work on Friday 8th May.

4. How to handle the prospect of an additional bank holiday in October 2020

The government is considering introducing an extra bank holiday for 2020 that would coincide with half-term. The proposal of an extra bank holiday was put forward by the UK’s tourism agency Visit Britain to help the industry recover from the impact of the coronavirus lockdown. However, there are concerns that an extra break could have an economic downside.

It’s impossible to predict changes such as the government postponing bank holidays or introducing additional bank holidays. This highlights the importance of contractual wording. You may want to add some wording on your company’s position should the government introduce additional bank holidays.

5. How to handle bank holidays during furlough

If an employee/worker usually works bank holidays, then the employer can agree that this is included in the grant payment. If the employee usually takes the bank holiday as leave, then the employer would either have to top up their usual holiday pay to 100% normal rate of pay or give the employee a day of holiday in lieu (paid at 100% normal rate of pay).

6. Treat part-time workers the same as full-time workers

A part-time worker has the right not to be treated less favourably than a comparable full-time worker. The best practice is to pro-rata bank holiday allowances, irrespective of whether an employee normally works on the day a bank holiday falls.

Bank Holidays for 2020

Wed 1 Jan 2020

Thu 2 Jan 2020 (Scotland only)

Tue 17 Mar 2020 (NI only)

Fri 10 Apr 2020

Mon 13 Apr 2020 (except Scotland)

Fri 8 May 2020

Mon 25 May 2020

Mon 13 Jul 2020 (NI only)

Mon 3 Aug 2020 (Scotland only)

Mon 31 Aug 2020 (except Scotland)

Mon 30 Nov 2020 (Scotland only)

Fri 25 Dec 2020

Mon 28 Dec 2020

Next Steps

For support with reviewing your contract of employment, why not consider our HR & Employment Law Services? Our experts are available 24/7/365.

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About the author

Hannah Booth

About the author

Hannah Booth

A graduate of Lancaster University and holder of a Professional Certificate and CAM Diploma in marketing and digital marketing, Hannah is our Communications & Content Manager. Hannah is responsible for all customer communications for Moorepay, and for leading on and producing key content on legislative and industry topics for the Moorepay knowledge centre.

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