Following the sad news of the death of the Queen on Thursday, the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II is set to take place on Monday 19th September, a Bank Holiday was declared for the same day in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We thought it would be useful to clarify your obligations as an employer in this regard and share some practical points for consideration.
As per the government guidance, there is no right to the time off for the bank holiday as with any bank holiday (depending on contractual arrangements). Whether or not employers grant the additional day off is a matter for individual employers to consider, the Government will not interfere. However, the Government expects that most employers will allow their employees the time off for the funeral and the Government expects employers to be respectful of requests from employees to have time off. Employers should also consider wider implications such as the closure of schools and the impact on childcare. As the schools will close, employers are likely to be faced with employees wanting or needing the time off to look after their children.
Some points to consider when making a decision on whether to remain or close for the bank holiday:
- There is no obligation for you as an employer to give the day off but the Government expects that most employers will
- The contractual arrangements you have with your employees may also be a deciding factor on whether or not you would be required to give a day off for this Bank Holiday
- If you decide not to give the day off you should be sympathetic to requests from those that wish to take the time off to watch the funeral – alternatively, if time off cannot be granted, could arrangements be made so the funeral can be watched?
- If you decide to stay open, it may be worth considering if you can balance this with those that are not interested in watching the funeral working rather than those that feel strongly they want the time off to watch the funeral
- You will need to consider if you decide to give the day off, whether or not if someone is already off on that date will you recredit their annual leave entitlement with the additional day and if they work will they get the day off in lieu?
- As previously mentioned, schools will close so you may want to consider this when deciding whether to stay open or not as you may find yourself short staffed due your employees having to take time off for childcare.
- If you do not grant an additional day off will you be willing to allow people to book annual leave even if it falls out of tolerance for ratios within departments and would you allow unpaid time off? As we are heading towards the end of the holiday year for many and people may have already used up their entitlement but may wish to have the time off.
You may also want to factor into your decision the impact this may have on your employees’ morale and goodwill.
We hope this provides you with some clarity around the practical considerations when deciding whether to allow the time off or remain open.
If you have any specific concerns or questions, please contact us on 01543 431050.