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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

How does the statutory holiday entitlement interact with the bank holiday for the Queen’s funeral?

Legal news and views

The 5.6 weeks (28 days) statutory holiday entitlement is inclusive of the bank and public holidays which means that as long as a worker receives 28 days paid holiday per year (or equivalent) an employer will have met its obligations.

It is a common misunderstanding that all workers have the right to take bank and public holidays as paid leave in addition to their statutory leave. That is not the case and although it is common for employees to be given a right to take these days off and be paid, it is not a statutory right. Ultimately it is up to the employer to determine whether workers will be paid when they do not work on a bank or public holiday and whether these days should come out of the 28 day entitlement or be added to the statutory entitlement. This should be clearly stipulated in the contract.

In most cases temporary workers will only receive the statutory minimum holiday entitlement. Although, if the worker has qualified for equal treatment under the AWR, they may become entitled to holiday above the statutory minimum if the client provides this for their own direct recruits or comparable employees. If working under a contract for services the temporary worker is not under an obligation to work on an assignment. If an assignment falls on a bank or public holiday, the temporary worker can decide whether to work or not but will need to apply to take the day as part of his or her holiday entitlement if he or she wishes to be paid for the day off. Alternatively the worker’s contract may stipulate that where an assignment falls over a day which is a bank or public holiday and the worker does not work, this will be treated as part of the worker’s holiday entitlement in which case the worker will be entitled to be paid for that day.

In England and Wales there are normally 8 bank and public holidays each year (Scotland has 9 and Northern Ireland has 10), but in some years extra bank holidays are added to celebrate particular events. Where this is the case, workers will not automatically be entitled to the extra day’s holiday unless the contract provides for this. If the worker’s contract states that the worker is entitled to the statutory minimum holiday, he or she will still only be entitled to 5.6 weeks (or the equivalent) inclusive of all of the public/bank holidays.

Workers whose contracts state that, for example, they are entitled to 20 days plus public/bank holidays will benefit from any extra public/bank holidays which are added to the calendar, if the contract does not make clear that the worker is only entitled to the usual 8 public/bank holidays (9 for Scotland and 10 for Northern Ireland).

As above, the question of whether the worker is/is not required to work on a bank/public holiday will depend on the terms of the contract.

Again, if the worker has qualified under the AWR, they may be entitled to equal treatment in relation to bank and public holidays in the way the client provides them to their own direct recruits or comparable employees. Employment businesses will need to obtain further information from their clients on this point.