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Avoid Bank Holiday complications

View profile for Gillian Markland
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Avoid Bank Holiday complications

With a positive flurry of Bank Holidays in May, we thought it topical to remind employers how best to avoid some unwitting complications in relation to Bank Holiday allowances. Employees do not have a statutory right to take time off at Bank Holidays, nor is there any statutory right to extra pay. Everything depends on your contracts of employment with your workforce.

Bank Holiday allowances can be complicated when considering part time staff as many Bank Holidays always fall on the same weekday (Monday) and others such as Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year Bank Holidays ‘move’ across the week from year to year.

It is important to be aware that an employee working part time cannot be treated less favourably than a comparable full time employee. As a result, giving part time employees a pro-rata allowance of paid Bank Holiday is likely to be the best approach and least open to challenge. However, it does require you to keep accurate records of your pro-rata calculations.

If your contracts require employees to work Bank Holidays, they cannot refuse to do so. However, be aware that employers refusing time off at Christmas or Easter Bank Holidays to Christian employees could be open to claims of indirect religious discrimination if they can demonstrate they are put at a particular disadvantage compared with employees of other or no faiths.

If you do not have contracts of employment in place or your contracts fail to outline Bank Holiday entitlements, then you will need to address this as soon as possible. Seek professional legal advice on how best to go about this.

Our articles are intended for general information purposes only and are not a substitute for professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. We are always very happy to discuss any plans, issues or concerns you may have and to clarify how we might be able to help. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.