What are your obligations as an employer over the bank holiday?

The government has said that there is no obligation to cancel events or close entertainment venues during this period of national mourning and that those decisions are up to individual organisations. If you are in a position where you decide to close and as such ask your employees not to come to work, you will most probably still need to pay them in full as it is unlikely that you’ll have a contractual provision that means you can avoid doing so.

It has also been announced that RMT union strikes that had been planned for 15th and 17th September will be cancelled as a mark of respect, as have some postal strikes.

The next big question your employees might be asking you is if there will be a bank holiday and will they be expected to work if there is. It has now been confirmed that 19th September will be a bank holiday, which means you should check your contracts of employment for what this will mean for you.

An employment contract will usually say how bank and public holidays will be treated. Many contracts say you will have an entitlement to the USUAL bank and public holidays, in which case there is no entitlement to the extra one. Some just say xx days ‘plus bank holidays’ – in which case the extra day will have to be granted. Some contracts will include those 8 days in the paid holiday allowance and then require staff to work on bank holidays, if for example they are shift workers.

Check how your contract deals with bank holidays to see whether you are committed to providing the extra day. Then, if you are not committed to it; decide if you are going to grant it. In all cases, communicate clearly what you are doing and please do get in touch if you have any questions.

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