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Do I have to give people the day off on 8th May 2023?

Updated: May 30, 2023

The Prime Minister has announced that the 8th of May 2023 will be a Bank Holiday in the UK to mark King Charles |||'s coronation. Rishi Sunak said the day will allow families and communities to come together and celebrate.

Do I have to give employees the day off?

Bank Holidays are not a statutory right in the UK, so whether you give the day off depends on how your contracts of employment are worded. If your contracts say people get all bank holidays in addition to their normal annual leave then the answer is yes.

If your contracts stipulate specific bank holidays then it's your choice but the HR advice we'd suggest is that companies take a common sense approach as it's a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Check your contracts of employment

Your contracts of employment will normally have specific wording around how bank holidays are handled. The below provides some examples of the sorts of wording that you might see;

1. Your annual paid holiday entitlement is XX days per year. In addition, you are entitled to take paid leave in respect of all normal English bank and public holidays. With this wording you would be required to provide your employees with the additional bank holiday. It clearly states that all bank holidays will be given to the employee.

2. You will be entitled to 28 days holiday in each holiday year (inclusive of your entitlement to public and bank holidays). With this wording, technically you don't have to give your employees that additional bank holiday. Statutory holiday in the UK is 5.6 weeks, so 28 days for a full-time employee. This entitlement doesn't change according to the number of bank holidays in a year (as people are not automatically entitled to bank holidays). This wording means you're giving your employees what they're entitled to so you don't have to give your employees the additional bank holiday.

3. 20 days plus 8 bank holidays (then provides a list of the bank holidays that this applies to). Here it's up to you if you want to give the additional bank holiday to your employees. Technically, you don't have to as you've specified which bank holiday the clause applies to.

Communicate what you'll be doing

Make sure you're clear with your employees about how you'll be handling the additional bank holiday. You'll need to make sure you consider things like;

  • Schools will be closed on the additional bank holiday. If your employees have children that require care, they are likely to need the day off if you won't be closing your offices

  • How your employees are likely to feel if they're not given the day off, it may well affect their morale and equally, it may well be a slow day for business given that large numbers of organisations will be closed

  • Making sure you don't treat any part-time workers less favourably than others

Where can I find out more?

You can see the official announcement here;

You can see a list of all the bank holidays in England and Wales here;

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  • All information within the post is provided for guidance only; always seek your own legal advice.

  • The information with this post was correct at the time of publishing, March 2023 but may be subject to change.

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