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Bank Holidays – March 2020

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Early May Bank Holiday and Your Role as an Employer.

The Early May Bank Holiday has existed since 1974 and has only ever been changed once before. However, this year marks the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, and the decision has been made again to change the date. The Early May Bank Holiday will now take place on Friday 8 May 2020. The three-day weekend will remember the contribution of British, Commonwealth and Allied armed forces personal; those who contributed to the war effort and safeguarded the Home Front. The celebrations that take place across the country may see travel disruptions, accessibility to your place of business, and a requirement to provide statutory leave to your staff. As an employer it is vital to know how this will affect you. This article will set out the broad range of ways this change in bank holiday can impact your place of business in respect of employment obligations.

Legal entitlement relating to bank holidays

The Working Time Directive (2003/88/EC) requires employers to provide a minimum of 5.6 weeks of annual leave per year, which is inclusive of the 8 normal bank holidays. However, you are not required to provide the bank holidays themselves off, as long as the employee receives their full holiday entitlement for the year.

The Impact

Due to the direct swap you will not need to re-calculate full-time holiday entitlements differently this year, which will be a relief to most employers. However, the change will affect part-time works or those with flexible and irregular working patterns, due to the fact bank holidays are treated as part of their annual leave entitlement.

In the event an employee does not normally work Fridays, they will see the benefit of a notional increase in holiday entitlement. Unfortunately for those employees who normally work on a Monday but work Fridays will see a notional decrease in holiday entitlements. The impact will be felt further by those who work different hours on a Monday and a Friday. Ultimately the benefit will go to those who work short hours on a Friday.

You should be aware there is no direct entitlement to Friday 8th May off, this is dependent on your contractual obligation established with the employee, where the contract should set out a procedure on how an employee can exercise their rights to their 5.6 weeks annual leave, further to how you should calculate their entitlement. This should encourage you as an employer to check the contracts issued and ensure there is no terms that stipulate the employee is specifically entitled to Monday 4th May off work, and an appropriate time to re-evaluate your contracts as a whole, ensuring they are up to date with the most recent laws and regulations. This is important for businesses who plan to shut on the 8th May as it may cause staffing issues. There is measures that can be put in place to resolve this by making a temporary change to the terms and conditions that ensures the employees leave aligns with the altered bank holiday dates.

We would encourage employers to take a proactive approach and identify any issues that may arise early, so they can be dealt with in a proactive manner, as we advise with all issues when operating a business.

As a final note we would like reiterate the importance of this year’s change shedding light on the importance of knowing your employees entitlements through the contracts you have provided and keeping up to date with employment updates to ensure you are prepared and can deal with any foreseeable issues before they occur. To find out more about your employees and workers entitlements, see one of our articles on The Good Work Plan, or arrange to attend one of our seminars taking place across the country in 2020.

The team at FTA Law provides advice to clients across the commercial and healthcare sectors with many of our instructions coming from referrals from long standing clients and industry contacts.

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