Businesses have been advised to plan ahead and review staff contracts to ensure they are ready for the extra public holiday for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday.
The Government announced the national holiday earlier this week, prompting many garment decorators and suppliers across the UK to decide on a complete shutdown for the day.
However, employees are not necessarily entitled to a day off simply because the Government has announced it in addition to the eight bank holidays in England and Wales, nine in Scotland and 10 in Northern Ireland.
Employees’ entitlements will depend on the specific wording of companies’ employment contracts and holiday policies, according to Yannick Ramsamy, senior associate at nationwide practice Acuity Law.
“As your employees’ entitlements will be determined by your employment contracts and any applicable policies, you should review these first to understand the employee’s eligibility to take 19 September as leave.”
For instance, some contracts will state that employees are entitled to statutory holiday which is already inclusive of public and bank holidays – 5.6 weeks per year including the normal number of statutory holidays – which means they are not automatically entitled to the extra day off.
However, Yannick said: “If the contract states that the employee is entitled to all public holidays which may be announced in addition to 5.6 weeks’ leave, the employee could claim 19 September as an additional holiday.”
He recommended that businesses check whether employees are entitled to receive an additional day’s leave in lieu of working on the public holiday and if they are entitled to enhanced pay.
Advice from manufacturers’ organisation Make UK extends to considering part-time workers as the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 (PTWR) do not cover additional public holidays.
“Some employers grant part-timers a pro-rata entitlement to these holidays regardless of which days they are rostered to work,” it pointed out.
“Others only allow part-timers paid time-off if the holiday in question falls on a day on which the employee would otherwise normally be at work.
“This can result in unfairness to part-time workers who happen not to work on Mondays when most bank holidays fall.”
Make UK also pointed out that employers needed to recognise that, as schools and colleges have been instructed to close, it is likely that many working parents will need to take time off.
However, it concluded that companies could simply treat 19 September as an extra day of paid holiday.
Garment suppliers are advising customers to plan ahead as they will not be making deliveries on 19 September. For instance, PenCarrie has advised that any deliveries due to arrive on the extra public holiday will now arrive on Tuesday 20 September although orders can still be placed online over the weekend.
With most businesses shutting on 19 September, economists have warned that the extra bank holiday will hit the UK’s “fragile” economy as it faces inflation at 10.1%, soaring energy bills and a cost-of-living crisis.
The UK economy grew by only 0.2% in July after a 0.6% slump in gross domestic product (GDP) in June, according to figures published on Monday by the Office for National Statistics.
Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at economic research consultancy Pantheon Macroeconomics, commented: “Looking ahead, the extra public holiday for the Queen’s funeral on 19 September has the potential to be more damaging for the economy than the extra day off for the Jubilee in June. That said, many businesses will be able to catch up work, as most of them did in June.”