It has been announced that there will be an extra bank holiday in May 2023, in honour of the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III. The bank holiday will fall on Monday 8th May 2023, following the coronation on Saturday 6th May 2023. Many employers will be questioning if an employee is entitled to this extra days’ holiday, and it’s a similar situation to the additional bank holidays granted for the Platinum Jubilee, and the Queen’s funeral earlier this year. The answer to this question will vary depending on the wording of the employee’s contract. We review the HR implications of the Kings Coronation bank holiday and provide a guide to help employers and businesses managing related staff issues.
Public & Bank Holidays in General
In a standard year, there are 8 bank holidays in England & Wales, these being New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May bank holiday, Spring bank holiday, Summer bank holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. In Northern Ireland there are 10 bank holidays, with the addition of St. Patrick’s Day and Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne. While in Scotland, there are 9 bank holidays, the main differences from England & Wales being a holiday on 2nd January and for St. Andrew’s day, but no Easter Monday.
Kings Coronation Bank Holiday & Staff Entitlement
Whether an employee is entitled to the extra bank holiday depends on the wording of contract.
If the contract states an employee’s holiday entitlement includes bank holidays and then lists the standard bank holidays that are recognised as part of the holiday entitlement, then there would be no need for the employer to give an extra day for the Kings Coronation. This would also be the case if the contract just states the entitlement includes the usual or standard bank holidays.
However, if their contract states holiday entitlement includes bank holidays, without listing the bank holidays or referencing the usual/standard bank holidays, then the employee would be entitled to the extra day. As The Kings Coronation is a bank holiday and the contract states the employee is entitled to bank holidays as part of their annual entitlement.
Some companies may not recognise bank holidays as part of an employee’s holiday entitlement, therefore there would be no obligation to give an extra day off for The Kings Coronation.
Employees Contractual Rights
Even if there is no contractual right to the extra bank holiday, an employer can decide to give the extra day as a gesture of goodwill. Many employees may assume that they will get the additional bank holiday, while legally an employer may not be required to give Monday 8th May 2023 as a day off, they may decide to allow the day to enhance employee relations.
Again, if there is no contractual right to the extra bank holiday, an employer can decide to close on Monday 8th May 2023, without giving an extra day’s holiday. Notice could be given, ideally at the start of the holiday year, if not sooner, that an employee must save a day of their yearly entitlement to cover the closure for The Kings Coronation bank holiday. This is similar to what many employers do for Christmas shutdowns, however like above an employer should think about employee’s expectations and how such a decision may affect employee relations.
It would be good practice for an employer to forewarn employees of their entitlement or not, of the extra bank holiday.
If you are unsure of what your employee’s maybe entitled to, then you are best to seek specialist advice from our Employment Law and HR team.