Last year it was the royal wedding. This year it is the diamond jubilee. Yet another royal event marked by an extra Bank Holiday.
Nearly three quarters of the respondents to a poll by business services firm, ELAS, felt that the practice of adding a bank holiday to celebrate national events such as these, is wrong because it causes hardship to small businesses. At a time when many of them are struggling to develop, or in some cases to survive, they feel they can’t afford to lose another day of trading.
Because the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee immediately follows the Spring Bank Holiday on June 4th this year, many employees are also applying for another three days leave, giving them the benefit of a full week off. This happened last year as well when the Easter and May Bank Holidays, plus the Royal Wedding Bank Holiday allowed people to be away from their workplace for 11 consecutive days (including two weekends) by taking just 2 days of annual leave.
Benefits to the Wider Economy
Of course the diamond jubilee will bring more national and international visitors to London who will need food and lodging. The travel, hospitality, entertainment and retail sectors should reap benefits from this. Tourists may also take the opportunity to see more of the country so those sectors in other areas might also find it an advantage.
Can you Ignore the Extra Bank Holiday?
Over 60% of those who completed the ELAS poll are planning either to stay open on June 5th or make staff use a day of their annual leave entitlement to take it off. But not every business is legally entitled to do that. It depends on the wording of their contracts of employment.
UK employees have no automatic statutory right to time off for public holidays, or to extra pay if they work them. However, if their job contracts specify a number of days annual leave, PLUS bank holidays, employers have no option but to allow the extra day off or treat it as they would any other bank holiday as per their terms and conditions.
If this applies to your business and you normally pay extra for time worked on bank holidays, if some of your staff are required to work on the jubilee day, it will have implications for your payroll. You need to be sure that your outsourced bookkeepers are aware of it.