Bank Holiday Entitlement

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Do you have to offer paid leave on Bank Holidays?

All employees of a business are entitled by law to 5.6 weeks of annual leave, depending on the worker’s normal working week. Public and Bank Holidays taken as paid leave usually factor into this amount, which is included in the statutory entitlement.

As such, employers may not necessarily have to give Public and Bank Holidays off as an additional day of leave if they already offer those 5.6 weeks of annual paid leave off.

Bank Holiday Entitlement

The role of your employment contracts

It is instead the contractual terms of employment that will dictate whether or not your workers are entitled to take Public and Bank Holidays off. Your contract may include specific details of whether or not paid Bank Holidays are part of their annual leave entitlement. It may also specify any additional days of paid leave and which days of the year, specifically, are covered by this entitlement.

As such, whether or not you have to offer paid leave on Public and Bank Holidays as part of the paid annual leave is your decision during the contract drafting phase. So long as you fulfil your obligation to ensure your employees’ statutory entitlement to the required amount of annual leave, it is up to the terms of the contract.

Though, many employers may consider additional paid leave on Public and Bank Holidays depending on the effects on staff morale and workplace culture against the costs incurred; as a result, staff can also be offered the option of taking the day off at their own discretion, but as unpaid leave. In order to take it off as paid leave, then they will have to use some of their annual leave entitlement as stated in the contract.

Resources to help your business

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Do you have to pay employees more to work on bank holidays?

The employee has no rights to more pay on a bank holiday besides what is included in the employment contract. However, most employers will offer additional pay during bank holidays for morale purposes.

You should also consider how bank holidays have been dealt with in the past – for instance, if staff have always been paid an enhanced rate, they may be able to claim that this has become an implied contractual entitlement.

Do you have to grant employees paid leave if you’re closing the business during Bank Holidays not included in their paid leave entitlement?

An employer isn’t obligated to offer additional paid leave unless it is part of their contractual entitlement. However, an employer may inform the staff of the fact that business is closing on a public or bank holiday and require that they take a day of their annual leave to ensure it is paid with two days’ notice.

Part-time workers and Bank Holiday entitlement

Employers are legally obligated to treat part-time workers with the same terms they would as a full-time counter in the case of Bank Holiday entitlement. Even if a part-time employee isn’t set to work on a bank holiday, they are still entitled to that time off, which may simply be used for another day, instead.

If you have any questions or concerns around Bank Holiday entitlements, get in touch with Neathouse Partners. Our team of employment law and HR experts can help employers, business owners, and directors find the answers you need.

About the author

James Rowland

Account Services


James is on the Business Development & Account Management team at Neathouse Partners and regularly posts articles surrounding issues in HR & Employment Law, including case law & legislation updates. If you have a particular issue you would like addressed, feel free to drop James an email, and he will be happy to offer his assistance.

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