With the Easter bank holidays just around the corner, many are busy making plans with family and friends. However, many are unclear as to their rights regarding bank holidays.
Does your employer have to give you Easter off work? What if you are Christian and the holiday is important to you? So today at Unlock the Law we take a look at 5 things you should know about employment law and bank holidays.
Employment Law & Bank Holidays UK
1. Unfortunately, there is no statutory right for employees to take bank holidays off work. Your right to take bank holidays will depend on your contract of employment.
2. Where an employee must work on a bank holiday, there is no statutory provision to give them the right to extra pay – for example, double time or time and a half. Again, the right to be paid extra for working bank holidays will stem from your contract of employment.
3. However, part-time workers have the right not to be treated less favourably than comparable full-time workers, including in relation to entitlement to bank holidays. Many employers in order to ensure fairness, give part-time employees a pro-rated allowance of paid bank holidays – regardless of whether or not they normally work on the days on which bank holidays fall. Where you are treated less favourably as a part-time worker in relation to bank holidays, you may be suffering discrimination – you should speak to your employer about this matter.
4. It is a common misunderstanding that where an employee is required to work bank holidays under their employment contract, they can refuse to do so on religious grounds. If you are required to work bank holidays under your employment contract, you must do so or you may be breaching this contract. However, where an employer refuses to grant Christian employees time off for any bank holidays that have religious significance, this may amount to indirect religious discrimination. The test is whether this places them at a particular disadvantage compared to employees of other faiths, or compared to non-religious employees.
5. It is also important to know how much holiday you are entitled to. Where the wording of your employment contract states that you are entitled to: "statutory entitlement plus bank holidays" - this does not mean 20 days' annual leave plus eight bank holidays. The increase in the statutory minimum leave from four weeks to 5.6 weeks means that you should receive 28 days holiday with eight bank holidays in addition to that. You should check your employment contract or speak with your employer if you think this may be an issue.
As can be seen from the points above, it is crucial that you read and understand your entitlements outlined in your employment contract. If you feel any of these terms are unfair, you should first speak with your employer to make them aware of your concerns.
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For more information, please read our online employment law guides.
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