Best Practice: Diamond Jubilee holiday guidance from Acas

Cath Everett
Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone
Sift Media
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Acas has issued guidance about how to deal with the holiday issues raised by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations as a result of growing numbers of calls to its employer helpline.

The occasion will be marked by a four-day long weekend for some workers due to the creation of an extra bank holiday on Tuesday 5 June. The last bank holiday in May has also been moved to Monday 4 June.
As a result, Acas is advising employers to plan ahead in order to avoid clashes over last minute leave requests or short-term absences.
Stewart Gee, the mediation service’s national helpline manager, said: “It’s important to be as fair and consistent as possible by having a policy on how to manage time off and leave requests so employees can join in the celebrations and employers can maintain morale at work.”
To this end, the organisation has issued guidelines to help employers to deal with the situation as effectively as possible. It advises:
  • Because employees have no statutory right to take bank/public holidays, the announcement of an extra one does not increase their entitlement to holiday under the Working Time Regulations
  • Whether an employee will benefit from the additional bank holiday depends on the wording of their employment contract. For example, if the contract says that they are entitled to 20 days annual leave in addition to all statutory bank and public holidays, they would potentially be eligible for the extra day's paid holiday. But if the contract lists public holidays by name, they may not be automatically entitled to the extra leave.
  • Workers have no legal right to be paid extra for working over a bank holiday, and whether they are or not depends on the terms of their employment contract.However, many employers do provide staff with incentives to work over such times so it is worth checking out any contractual obligations.

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