What time off are my staff entitled to on the day of HM Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral?

The Government and King Charles III have announced that Monday 19th September will be a public holiday. The Queen’s funeral service will commence at 11am.

While there is no obligation on employers to give staff, the day off work, the Government are encouraging employers to do so, where possible and practical.

The holiday that your staff are entitled to will depend on a few different aspects.

The wording in your contract of employment is very important. Is your holiday entitlement 20 days plus public and bank holidays or 28 days including public and bank holidays?

If it is the former, all of your staff are entitled to an extra day off on the day of the state funeral. This will be pro-rated for anyone who is part time.

If Monday is not a usual day of work for a part time employee, they will have the opportunity to take their additional allowance at another time.

If Monday is a usual day of work for a part time employee, they could either work a different day that week to make up the time or, use some of their holiday entitlement to take the day off.

If your holiday allowance is 28 days including public and bank holidays, then there is no automatic entitlement to the extra day. In this instance, you can give an extra day of paid leave or you could give the day as unpaid leave.

If your contract of employment contains a clause for additional pay on public or bank holidays, then employees working on Monday 19th September will be entitled to the enhanced rate.

If you need your staff to work, due to the nature or industry of your organisation, then you should confirm this to your staff in writing on as soon as possible.

If you are going to close your business and require employees to use their existing annual leave entitlement on 19th September, you must ensure that you give them at least two working days notice – the more the better. Legally, as long as you provide notice which is twice the length of the time you want them to take, you can require staff to use their annual leave.

One additional consideration here is what do you do for those who have no leave left or have pre-booked all their leave?

If you give more than 28 days per annum, you can require them to use leave from the following year. If you do not provide more than the statutory minimum, then you cannot ask people to bring forward leave from next year.

In taking the decisions for your business, ensure you are not discriminating against anyone, either directly or indirectly.

Communication throughout this period is going to be essential. Don’t forget anyone on annual leave, sick leave, parental leave or maternity leave. Ensure everyone is aware of what your policy is and how it will impact them.

As I wrote in my recent blog, some people are going to be more affected than others emotionally. Ensure that you are supporting them and enabling people to grieve as they need to.

Handling this public holiday appropriately will only enhance your company culture.

One final note – there will be a Coronation for HM King Charles III. This too may be a Public Holiday; although when it will be, we do not yet know.