As we all know, the Cabinet has agreed that the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday 29 April 2011 will be marked by a public holiday.
However, the announcement of an extra bank holiday does not increase any entitlement to holiday under the Working Time Regulations, so whether an employee will benefit from the additional bank holiday will be entirely dependent on the wording of their contract. Quite clearly there is tremendous potential for employers and employees not seeing things in the same light, and its best that employers decide what their stance is early rather than closer to the time.
As you’d expect, it all depends on what your contract of employment says. For example, a contract which entitles a worker to 20 days annual leave in addition to all statutory, bank and public holidays, would potentially give the worker an extra day’s paid holiday.
However, since the wedding will be a significant public occasion, employers will also need to consider whether it will negatively affect their employees’ morale if their business doesn’t join in with the celebrations. Employers need to be clear as to their legal rights and obligations, and communicate with their employees.
People need to know where they stand. Employees can’t just assume the day is a holiday just because the government says it’s a public holiday. The point for employers seems to be: if in doubt, find out what the position is.