Many organisations are giving their employees an additional day off on Monday 19th September as a mark of respect, to enable employees to mourn and celebrate the life of the Queen, and as a gesture of goodwill. Many are doing this even where they do not have a contractual right which can go a long way in boosting morale and incentivising employees.
Where business operations do not allow for the entire workforce to be given the day off, organisations can request a skeleton staff and give time off in lieu of the bank holiday.
For many, this is not an option, so we have collated some of the top questions we have been receiving from HR teams since the announcement. Remember, the options do depend on your circumstances, so take legal advice where required. Our employment law team can help.
Do employees have a right to take off Monday 19 September 2022 for the Queens funeral?
No, employees do not have a statutory right to take time off for bank/public holidays. Many employees regularly work bank holidays in the retail and hospitality industry. What is key here is to look at your employees’ terms and conditions of employment to ascertain whether they are entitled to the time off.
How do I determine whether employees are contractually entitled to time off for the Queen’s funeral?
The UK government has announced that the Queens funeral is due to take place on 19 September 2022 and will be a bank holiday and as such, you’ll need to check what your employees’ contracts state in relation to this.
Some examples are as follows:
If the contract states that employees are entitled to ‘x number of days + bank holidays’ your employees will be entitled to have the day off as there is no specificity on the number of bank holidays.
If the contract however were to state employees are entitled to ‘x number of days + the usual bank holidays’ the employee would not be contractually entitled to have the day off as this additional and unforeseen bank holiday is an exception and would not be a usual bank holiday.
If the contract were to state that employees are entitled to ‘x amount of days + 8 days bank holiday’, your employees would not be contractually entitled to have the day off as the queen’s funeral represents an additional bank holiday and wouldn’t fall within the normative 8 days bank holiday.
Some contracts may go a step further and may outline the bank holidays within the contracts such as Christmas, Boxing Day, Good Friday etc. which would mean that your employees would therefore not be entitled to the additional unforeseen bank holiday on 19 September 2022.
Do I need to close the business for the Queen’s funeral?
No, there is no requirement to close businesses on this date but many businesses have taken the decision to do so as a mark of respect but this is not a requirement of the law.
Download our full guidance note where we also cover:
- What if my employees are not entitled to have the bank holiday off but we have decided to close the business as a mark of respect?
- What support can I offer my employees who are visibly upset about the news of the Queen’s death?
- What happens to my employees that are not scheduled to work on the 19th September but we are allowing employees to take the bank holiday off?
- What if my business remains open but employees are unable to attend work?