Diamond Jubilee 2012 FAQs

The nation will celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee on 5th June 2012 with an extra Bank Holiday. Furthermore Spring Bank holiday will be on 4th June this year making for a four day weekend – plenty of time to celebrate.

But, for employers, inevitably it raises a number of questions.

In looking at these questions you need also to reflect on what policy you used on 29th April 2011 – the Royal Wedding day. If you intend to adopt a different policy in respect of the Diamond Jubilee then that will be difficult.

Do my employees get an extra day’s paid holiday?

It depends! Only your contracts of employment can answer the question.

If your employees get 5.6 weeks (28 days) including Public Holidays then, no, the Diamond Jubilee is a Public holiday and therefore is not an extra day. You might nevertheless want to consider “goodwill” and allow an extra day’s paid holiday. That could provide a pay-back in terms of enthusiasm for you as an employer, but it is not something you are obliged to do.

If your contracts state 4 weeks (or 20 days) plus Bank/Public holidays then (unless you have stated specifically which Bank/Public holidays you mean e.g. Good Friday, Christmas Day etc), your employees will be entitled to an additional day’s paid holiday.

Incidentally, Spring Bank holiday is merely moved one week back. It means 28th May (which would normally be the Spring Bank holiday) will simply be another working day.

Can I require my employees to work the day?

Well, sorry, but again it depends!

If your contracts of employment allow you to require employees to work Public/Bank holidays then yes, there should be no argument.

But in the absence of specific terms then you should look at how you handle existing Bank/Public holidays such as Good Friday or the Spring Bank holiday. You may be able to rely on precedents.

You might also ask whether you really need all your employees to work. Could some agreement be reached between those who want the day and those who might not? Some employees may be avid Royalists, others may simply not care!

Do employees have to take the day off?

In the case of “Nil hours” employees the situation should be straightforward. If there is no work, you don’t need them and they can choose whether it is paid holiday (as part of their entitlement).

In most other cases you should be able to point to precedents arising from other Bank/Public holidays. Do you require employees to take those days off? If so, then we’d suggest that the same terms should apply. For example if such days are normally deemed to be holiday (and employees have to take them) then the day should be treated and paid as such.

Then, of course, there is the precedent set in 2011.

But I am unhappy with the precedent set in 2011 – can anything be done?

You need some very clear reasons as to why you need to make the change. Perhaps June is a critical month for you where April was not (or vice versa). Perhaps for sound operational reasons four days cause problems that three did not. Those arguments might justify whether or not you can reasonably expect an employee to work. Alternatively you may be able to negotiate with individual employees. However regarding pay or holiday entitlement then unless you make changes to contracts of employment, a problematic process in itself, you would be wise to follow the precedent set.

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