The date of the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been confirmed as the 19th September 2022. A national bank holiday has been set for this date for the UK. This invariably raises a number of concerns for businesses.
Yesterday, the Law Society issued new guidance on the impact of the bank holiday for property completions scheduled for Monday. The guidance covers what conveyancers can do if their clients are contractually bound to complete on the 19th September, as well as recording changed dates and amendments to the contract.
The government have also issued some guidance on the additional bank holiday, which explains that leave arrangements are open to discussions between employers and employees. The unexpected passing of the Queen has inevitably created difficulties for employers when considering the potential closure of their business for the day, within such a short time frame.
The contract of employment should however be the starting point for these discussions as some contracts specifically allow all bank holidays whilst others specifically exclude them. Employers are however encouraged to acknowledge that this can be a sensitive time for many individuals.
School closures on the 19th of September are also likely to cause employees to encounter difficulties with arranging childcare. This will also be a factor in helping determine what employers should do in this situation.
Those not working on the day of the funeral, for example, part-time employees, those on long-term sickness or maternity, adoption or shared parental leave, should have the additional day recognised.
Employers have the option of requiring employees to take the day out of their remaining annual leave entitlement. The government guidance makes clear that employers “may include bank holidays as part of a worker’s leave entitlement” and contracts may allow employers to do this. The short notice period however may prove problematic for some, as would situations when employees have already used their full entitlement. In any event, it would be wise to communicate as soon as possible with employees and make clear if the day is to be deducted from existing entitlements.