It has been announced that the late May public holiday will not take place at the end of May this year, but will be moved to Monday 4 June 2012 instead. It has also been confirmed that the additional public holiday for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will take place the following day, Tuesday 5 June 2012.
It is often wrongly assumed by employees that if the government declares an additional public holiday, they will automatically be entitled to an additional paid day off. In reality, the question of whether employees are entitled to this additional holiday is governed by their contracts of employment.
If the contract of employment specifies particular days that will be granted by the employer as public holidays, then it is unlikely that the employer will be obliged to grant the additional Diamond Jubilee day.
However, a contract of employment that entitles employees in more general terms to all recognised public holidays will provide a basis for employees to be entitled to this additional holiday.
Of course, the contents of holiday entitlement clauses in contracts of employment are many and varied, therefore employers should take advice upon the documents which apply to them.
Employers whose employees are entitled to the Diamond Jubilee public holiday, and who are concerned that their operations may be adversely affected, may wish to negotiate with their employees over alternative arrangements such as granting a day’s holiday in lieu to be taken at another time or paying a public holiday premium to employees who are required to work on that day. Employers who must recognise the Diamond Jubilee holiday but do expect their employees to work on that day should make sure they do have the contractual right to require their employees to work on a public holiday.
Employers whose employees are not entitled to the additional holiday may allow employees to apply for annual leave on this date. It is recommended that employees are encouraged to apply early to have annual leave authorised given that it is likely that more employees than usual may wish to take this date as annual leave, especially given that some schools may be closed.