Jubilee break poses potential holiday headache for HR

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Acas warns employers to ‘start planning now’

Acas has urged employers to plan ahead for the extra bank holiday on Tuesday 5 June, which was created to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations this year.

The organisation, which provides mediation services to employers, said that while the summer date “seems a long way off”, staff will already be making plans for it.

Early workforce planning is particularly important as the last bank holiday in May has also been moved to Monday 4 June to create an extended weekend for festivities.

Employers may find themselves juggling additional leave requests, Acas said, but forward planning would help to avoid last minute request clashes or short-term absences.

Staff do not have a statutory right to take bank holidays, so the announcement of an extra bank holiday does not increase any entitlement to holiday.

But some employee contracts, for example those which entitle a worker to 20 days’ annual leave in addition to all statutory, bank and public holidays, would potentially give the person an extra day’s paid holiday. However, this does not apply if public holidays are listed by name in a contract.

There is also no legal obligation to pay employees more for working on a bank holiday and extra pay will depend on terms and conditions in an employee’s contract.

Acas’ national helpline manager, Stewart Gee, said: “For many, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is an opportunity to celebrate and with two bank holidays at the beginning of June, employers may receive more requests for time off.

“We’re already getting calls to our helpline from employers seeking advice. It’s important to be as fair and consistent as possible by having a policy on how to manage time off and leave requests, so employees can join in the celebrations and employers can maintain morale at work.”

A number of employers faced heavy criticism last year after some refused to allow staff to take 29 April off to celebrate the royal wedding.

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