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Royal wedding holiday: to pay or not to pay?

With a public holiday to mark the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton just two months away, the question has arisen as to what provisions employers should put in place in relation to time off and payment for this day.

If you’ve not already, you should decide now what your policy will be and communicate this to your employees as soon as possible.

What an employer should do in relation to allowing time off or additional payment for working on the day of the Royal wedding depends on the contractual provisions within an individual’s contract of employment.

Given that, under the Working Time Regulations, all employees are entitled 28 days’ holiday (or the appropriate proportion of this for part time workers) this additional Royal wedding holiday should not affect the legal minimum entitlement for most employers.

If employers have genuine business reasons for requiring staff to work on that day, the time off may not be possible, however, in that situation, employers will need clear contractual provision to require employees to work on bank or public holidays. Without this provision, it will only be possible for employers to get their employees to work with their express consent.

To pay or not to pay?

In relation to the question of payment, whilst many employers will be happy to give staff the day off with their normal pay, this is not a statutory obligation and, for many employers, incurring the extra cost of payment for this day may be something they will wish to avoid.

Therefore, employers are, subject to their contracts of employment, free to choose whether any payment should be made for this day.

This decision will obviously need to balance the benefits of making a payment of normal wages as an extra reward to employees against the cost of doing so and the potential negative employee reaction that will inevitably result if no payment is made.

Where employees normally work on bank holidays then their pay for the day will also depend on their contract. As there is also no statutory right to be paid overtime premium or to be given time off in lieu on such days, payments for all employees that work on April 29 should be determined in advance of the day in question to avoid any subsequent uncertainty, either in line with their existing contracts or through a separate agreement.

Qdos Consulting provides HR, taxation, insurance and VAT advice to SMEs. It also provides the Forum of Private Business‘s 24-hour legal helpline.



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