Please sir, I want some more….

We all know the famous quote from Oliver Twist as he asks the cook at the workhouse for more gruel but this week I’ve been asked a lot about the extra bank holiday that has recently been announced.

Do you have to give the extra day as an additional day off? Can you ask staff to take the day from their holiday allowance?

Well, the outcome will depend on what your contract says as to whether or not they are entitled to the additional day.

So what does it say in your contracts?

If your contract state that the employee’s annual leave entitlement is a certain number of days and states ‘plus bank holidays’, they will be entitled to the additional day off.

However, if the contract states that the entitlement is to a certain number of days say 30, and is silent on the issue of bank holidays, they will not be entitled to an additional day’s leave.

Neither will they be entitled to an extra day if the entitlement is expressed as a certain number of days ‘plus eight bank holidays’, or if the contract specifies which bank holidays are included.

If they are not entitled and you did not want to give them the extra day you don’t have to and you will need to decide whether it will come from their normal entitlement or whether you are happy for them to work it. 

Contrary to popular belief employees do not have an automatic right to paid time off on a bank holiday but if you do decide not to offer it as an extra it is worth considering the impact it could have on morale and engagement on your team.

If you want to discuss this further, or indeed having looked at this issue in your company and now thinking your contracts need to be reviewed (or introduced!), please do give me a call!