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  • Writer's picture2020 HR

It's time to celebrate! Additional Public Holiday 2022

The Palace has announced its plans to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which include an additional public holiday in June 2022. As with the Golden Jubilee, the late May public holiday will move to 2 June and an additional Bank Holiday on 3 June will be added to make a 4-day weekend for the celebrations.

There is a myth that public holidays are covered by some additional protection under the law. This is not true. The only legislation covering paid holiday requires employers to permit workers to take paid holiday of 5.6 weeks. Traditionally, a lot of employers will break this down to be 4 weeks plus the standard 8 public holidays but this is not a legal requirement. Employers are not obliged to recognise public holidays and they are not obliged to give time off, additional payments or any other compensation if people work a public holiday.

Many, but not all, employment contracts will include 8 public holidays as part of their holiday allowance. Some contracts will even list the days they recognise. Where that is the case, some employers may offer additional compensation if they require their people to work on a public holiday but they don't have to - the devil is in the detail.

And, if your business is one that operates 365 days per year regardless of public holidays, it is often advisable not to recognise public holidays and instead keep all of the minimum 5.6 weeks as flexible holidays that can be used to suit employee and business needs.

Employers who recongise public holidays now have a decision to make about the additional public holiday that will occur in 2022. There are a number of options including:

  1. Give your people the extra day off and take the hit

  2. Ask your employees to use a day out of the remaining holiday year to cover the public holiday (appropriate notice is required)

  3. Ignore the additional public holiday and operate as normal

These are not the only options but they are the main ones - the precise options as they apply to your business will depend on what is written in the employment contract as well as what has been done in the past when additional public holidays have been added to the calendar. For example; if you used option 1 for the last Jubilee, there could be an expectation that this will happen with the 2022 additional public holiday.

Employers who don't recognise public holidays need to decide whether they want to grant an additional days holiday in 2022 or not. There is no obligation to do so.

Consideration should also be given to the reaction your people may have to whatever decision you reach. Choosing not to recognise it or asking them to use their normal holiday allowance may impact on engagement with some workers thinking that you are being a bit tight if the reasons for that decision is not effectively communicated. Business owners need to make a judgment about engagement versus cost because even public holidays are a cost to the business.

Whatever you decide, there is likely to be an increase in requests for additional time off during the week before and the week after. People love using public holiday weeks to make their time off last longer and many families will use the celebration to incorporate a holiday. Now is the time to plan for this - think about how many people you can manage the business with during these two weeks and begin to manage expectations early to avoid disappointments.

Holidays can be an emotive issue and one which can create a great deal of conflict and unrest if not managed closely. If you need any advice around managing the additional public holiday or any other holiday matters, get in touch for advice relevant to your organisation.

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