Employers – What You Need To Know About Bank Holidays

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It’s bank holiday season, which is great for most of us – barbeques, Netflix fests, extra time to get the garden sorted – it’s a little chunk of extra time we all love to enjoy. Where it gets that bit more complicated is when it comes to employment and bank holidays. Where do employers stand when it comes to employment law and bank holidays?

In the UK we have 8 official, permanent bank holidays which are: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day, Late Summer Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, May Day, Easter Monday and Good Friday. In England and Wales these holidays are the same, in Scotland and Northern Ireland however there are additional permanent bank holidays and some of the Wales and England Permanent bank holidays are not included.

As an employer is is extremely important to understand where you stand when it comes to employment law and bank holidays. As with any legal employment law requirement, if you get it wrong you could face a hefty fine or legal action so it really does count to know your stuff when it comes to these days of leisure.


Here are just a few important things you need to know about bank holidays as an employer:

Your Staff Don’t Have A Right To The Day Off

Legally, your staff are not entitled to take the bank holiday off. If a member of staff wants the day off their right to do so depends on their employment contract. So legally, their right to have bank holiday off depends entirely on their terms of contract only.


Your Staff Don’t Have A Right To Extra Pay

Extra pay on bank holidays is fantastic, but it isn’t a legal right. In the same way they don’t have a legal right to take a bank holiday off unless their contract states they can, if they want extra pay for working a bank holiday their contract needs to state they are entitled to it.

Part Time Workers Have The Same Rights As Full Time Workers

There is an act (Part-time workers PLFT regulations 2000) which states that staff who work part time are entitled to the same terms as full time workers, but the treatment is on a pro rata basis. So the part time worker must be given their entitlement when it comes to statutory minimum holiday entitlement and any other included entitlements that may relate to the bank holidays in relation to the employees pro rata entitlements and the terms of their contract.

Staff Must Abide By Their Contracts

If a staff members contract requires that they work on a bank holiday, they cannot refuse to work it, regardless of their reasons for wanting to take the day off. This includes any religious reasons although it is worth remembering that the Equality Act does cover religion. So if a person is refused time off for a religious holiday, they could claim religious discrimination if they are seen to be treated less favourably than a person with another faith, or no faith.

Statutory Entitlement Has Changed

Before 2009 ‘statutory entitlement plus bank holidays’ meant an employee had 20 days holiday plus 8 bank holidays. Now statutory leave is 28 days holiday plus 8 bank holidays. Unamended contracts may not be up to date with these changes.


To read more about employment law and bank holidays, take a look at the following links:



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