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Opening on Bank Holidays - HR Advice

Coronavirus has changed the way that Practices work in many ways, but possibly one of the biggest has been opening on Bank Holidays

With the May bank holidays on their way, we wanted to make sure that you were feeling positive and ready for any questions your employees may have.

How does this affect my holidays?

If your employee has to work on the bank holiday, the holiday day should not be “lost” and should be offered on an alternative day, or simply added back into the employee’s holiday allowance for them to use as they wish.

Can the practice dictate when I take the leave day or legally cancel my leave?

Yes. It is the right of an employer to dictate when employees take their holidays. A full-time employee has a right to a minimum of 28 days annual leave (which includes bank holidays), and can request holidays on certain days/times, but the employer does not need to agree.

An employer must give one days’ notice for each day of annual leave that is to be cancelled. So for example, to cancel one day's leave for the bank holiday, the employee must receive one day’s notice. This would be the same to cancel a week’s leave, the employee must receive one week’s notice.

If you wanted an employee to take the leave on a different, specific day, then an employer must provide two days’ notice for every day of leave. So to rearrange the one days leave, the employee must receive two days’ notice. If the practice was dictating a week’s leave, the employee would require at least two weeks’ notice.

My contract says I don’t have to work Bank Holidays?

This isn’t likely - it is important for Practice Managers to be aware of what is written in employee’s contracts, however. Each contract is different and is likely to state something different in regards to bank holidays. Most contracts will state the working hours/days for the employee and that bank holidays are recognised by the practice and form part of the holiday allowance.

Many contracts state a clause that allows for some flexibility in regard to working hours, which will most likely cover this situation.  There are very few contracts that will specifically state that employees cannot work on bank holidays. Following what is written in contracts is important of course, for both the employee and the employer.

Am I entitled to extra pay for working on a bank holiday?

This is a common misconception - employees are not entitled to any extra pay on a bank holiday, but the Practice (as the employer) can choose to pay more should they wish to. Many practices choose to pay time and a half or otherwise for those that work on a bank holiday.

If you have any unanswered questions around Bank Holidays, contact our specialist HR Advisor at hrhelp@firstpracticemanagement.co.uk

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