As an employer it’s important to know the employment law concerning bank holidays and other public holidays.
For the rest of this article we’ll use the term Public Holidays, which will include all the Bank Holidays (Mondays) and other public holidays such as Christmas and Good Friday.
Within the UK there are between 8 and 10 public holidays each year, depending upon the exact country. Use the drop down boxes below to see the public holidays for a given year and country.
Four things you should know about public holidays:
- In the UK, an employee is entitled to a statutory 5.6 weeks holiday each year, which equates to 28 days for an employee working 5 days a week. The 5.6 weeks can include the public holidays, but you should be clear in your employment contract whether the entitlement includes public holidays, or is in addition to the public holidays.
For example, in England there are 8 public holidays so you could list an employee’s entitlement as being 28 days (including public holidays) or 20 days (plus public holidays).
- There is no statutory right for employees to take public holidays off. While most office-based businesses will be closed on public holidays, there are plenty of industries that require their employees to work some or all public holidays. It’s entirely up to the company, but your policy should be clearly documented in your employees’ contract.
Employees cannot refuse to work on a public holiday if their contract stipulates that they are required to.
- If an employee does work on a public holiday, there is no statutory right to be paid more than their standard rate. Companies can decide to pay extra if they want, but there is no legal requirement. Again, this should be documented in the employee’s contract!
- Part-time employees should not be treated less favourably than a full-time employee when it comes to public holidays. This means part-time employees should be given a pro-rata of the public holiday entitlement. We have a great article titled Fair Bank Holidays for Part-Time Employees which goes into detail about how to achieve this.