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As the Royal Wedding looms, what are your rights to time off work?

As Royal wedding fever rolls in, we will all be off work to watch Kate and William’s big day and celebrating with street parties. Well – not necessarily. There is no automatic right for employees to take the time off work for the additional public holiday on Friday 29th April.

Many employers will simply close their businesses and give employees an extra day’s holiday. But what if they don’t?

Our legal specialist Philip Landau (employment lawyer and partner of London law firm Landau Zeffertt Weir) gives us his view….

There is often confusion over rights and entitlements to bank holidays – let alone additional days which are not the norm. The Working Time Regulations state that full time employees are entitled to a minimum of 28 days paid leave each year. That includes the usual 8 permanent bank holidays. Your contract of employment therefore will be the governing factor determining whether you are entitled as of right to paid leave on bank holidays, and how many.

Some contracts will state that you will receive 20 days holiday plus all bank holidays, in which case you are entitled to the 29th April as an additional paid days’ leave. Other contracts will say you are entitled to 28 days holiday including bank holidays and here, you would have no right to take the additional bank holiday as paid leave.

If your employer is maintaining a business as usual approach on the 29th April and you wish to take the day as part of your holiday entitlement, you can request this but your employer does not have to agree if it is not convenient for the business. This is in line with any request for holiday to be taken at other times during the year.

For those that are working on the royal wedding bank holiday, there is also no statutory entitlement to additional pay. Again, the position will be governed by the provisions in your contract of employment or any separate agreement reached, so this needs to be checked carefully.

With another additional bank holiday on the horizon next year for the Queen’s diamond jubilee, it is hoped that employers will not be mean spirited. What they should try and do at the very least is to apply a consistent approach to their employees, especially where the contractual positions regarding holidays may vary between their staff.

It is estimated that the extra bank holiday may cost the British economy £2.9 billion. The cost to the British economy of a disgruntled and resentful workforce would be significantly higher, however, if employers are overly mean spirited on the day.

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  • Lindaannefennell

    I would like to work on Royal wedding day but told I cannot work and must take the day as holiday leave or as unpaid time off.

  • Kjward

    i always work all the bank holidays is that fair or not?

    • Prole2000

      Depends if that is what you agreed/contracted to do, but otherwise I’d say not, unless being well paid for them with time off in lieu?

  • Thealien

    I would suggest that if the firm you work for is forcing you to have the day off, then the firm must pay for that time off especially if you are willing to work on that day

  • Miguel

    I’m a contract mechanical designer and the current company I’m working at is shutting down for the Royal Wedding. Since I don’t get paid holidays, this unnecessary time off is costing me a days pay, which I don’t appreciate at all, and can’t do anything about! Since I am not a direct employee of the company I am not allowed to come in to work when the whole of the company is closed for the day. Also, I do not own my own workstation and software, so taking work home is out of the question, and the company would not allow it if I did have my own system.
    The Royal Wedding, as far as I am concerned, is a total waste of time, and a money loser!!!

    • Prole2000

      Presume you work Sat & Sun or or they a total waste of time as well? As a Contractor did you not contract for ‘x’ ammount of work, and include who was providing what facilities, e.g. equipment to do your work…? Enjoy the day with friends and familly, it is only 1 day of 365 or 260 ‘working’ days.

  • Prole2000

    What is the point of Public – Bank Hollidays if they are not a holiday? There’s little enough done to get people – famillies together so a public holiday should be just that, a holiday for all!
    Next steps will to to have no ‘holidays’, that arn’t ‘convienient’ for employers, apart from emergency services this 24/7 ‘culture’ is quite pathetic, it wasn’t needed in that past, so why is it now?

  • Colestevensuk

    They say it will cost 2.9billion but what about all the extra work for the event, the extra tv shows, the event staff, the entertainers and activities. With all this and the moral boost with street parties, bbq’s and celebrations I think it’s great for the economy! Back to being British.

  • Welshspringer6

    What rights have we agency workers got . Have to take bank holidays off without pay,where as the full time workers who we work along side gets paid . Bank holidays will affect my next 3 weeks wages . Scandalous .

  • neil martin

    This country is set up to stop people making money this is just another example frankly i don’t care about the royals all this family value rubbish is just that. What i care about is being able to go away twice a year to the Indian Ocean and spend money without asking myself can i afford it. I am able to do that because i work stupid hours the rest of the time , things like this get in the way esp. when im having to pay higher rates of tax for all the people in this country who can’t be bothered working or stretching themselves in the first place and prefer to embrace the so called work life balance ( really read “excuse to sit on your arse”) and then complain about all the fat cats earning all the money – or about the upper middle class who actually earn what they earn because they kill themselves and social engineer and do all sorts of things they would rather not to get to the positions there in because there driven. So in short the royal wedding what the point its 2 people getting married I wish them all the best but why should it be yet another excuse to affect my bank balance and why should I pay for people who work for me to have time off.

  • Topher

    My contract only states that I am ‘entitled to 20 days paid holiday’ this can be assumed to mean that the other 8 days I’m legally entitled to are on the bank holidays… (ie: 20 days plus bank holidays…) but it does not state as such, and the days themselves are of course not listed, so horrible grey area.

    • Petercoz

      Don’t forget if you do overtime you are entitled to extra holidays. The minimum holiday entitlement is dictated by the EEC, and overtime counts for extra holidays. You can claim backpay for several years if you have been doing overtime in the pastand receiving the minimum holiday. . Please contact me if if you want any more info.

  • Kyle

    It would be nice for us all to have the day off, I do get the time off but my partner works in a shop and he does not, so it’s just another day that I get to sit in on me own. Oh the joy! And it’s not like there will be anything good to watch because it will be wedding oriented, so I for one would rather work tomorrow.

  • Ginadancer

    Steve P – As it states in the article above, you are entitled to 28 days paid leave a year, therefore if your employer gives you 20 days paid holiday a year you are entitled to be paid for the 8 bank holidays, it’s very difficult to know where you stand with no contract. Is your employer paying you for the bank holidays?

    Your employment contract doesn’t have to be in writing. However, you are entitled to a written statement of your main employment terms within two months of starting work.

    The employment contract is made as soon as you accept a job offer. If you start work it will show that you accepted the job on the terms offered by the employer, even if you don’t know what they are. Having a written contract could cut out disputes with your employer at a later date, and will help you understand your employment rights. If you are being paid for the 8 days bank holiday then your employer is not “breaking the law”.

  • Petercoz

    Do you do any overtime? If you do you are entitled to extra holidays. The minimum entitlement is set by the EEC and overtime qualifies as extra holiday. You can claim back pay if you have taken insufficient leave for several years.

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