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How to: get ready for a bank holiday

20 April 2010 by

The UK has eight permanent bank holidays per year - New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May, Spring, Summer, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

With the next bank holiday on 3 May fast approaching, how much do you as an employer know about employment law concerning bank holidays? Here are five things you really need to know:

1. There is no statutory right for employees to take bank holidays off work. Any right to time off depends on the terms of the employment contract.

2. When an employee works on a bank holiday, there is no statutory right to extra pay - for example time and a half or double time. Any right to extra pay depends on the terms of the contract of employment.

3. The best practice - and safest - approach to part-time employees is to give them a pro-rata allowance of paid bank holidays, irrespective of whether or not they normally work on the days on which bank holidays fall.

4. Even though some bank holidays are aligned to a Christian festival such as Easter, there is no requirement to allow additional time off for employees who practise religions other than Christianity. Doing so would result in more favourable treatment for certain religious groups and amount to unlawful direct discrimination.

5. Contractual holiday entitlement of "statutory entitlement plus bank holidays" no longer denotes 20 days' leave plus eight bank holidays. Following the increase in statutory minimum leave from four to 5.6 weeks, this will grant 28 days' holiday plus eight bank holidays. Check employment contracts to determine if this could be an issue.

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