The wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29th April 2011 has been declared as an additional public holiday.

Although this is gladly received by the majority, this announcement has also caused much confusion for both employers and employees and I have received numerous requests for advice.

Are Employer’s obligated to provide time off on the 29th April 2011?

English law allows the dates of Bank Holidays to be changed by the Government or for other holidays to be declared, for example to celebrate special occasions.

It depends what exactly is stated within an employees contract of employment, as to whether employers are obligated to provide such time off work for employees.

Given the majority of employees are entitled to 28 days holiday (the current legal requirement under the Working Time Regulations 1998), the additional holiday for the Royal wedding should not affect this legal minimum entitlement for most employers.

If it is stated in an employee’s contract of employment that they are entitled to Bank Holidays then they shall be entitled to this day off.

In the event an employer had genuine business reasons to require employees to work on that day, employers would need to have clear express contractual provisions to require employees to work on Bank or Public Holidays, otherwise an employer would have to seek an employee’s written expressed consent.

Do Employer’s have to pay employees on the 29th April 2011?

Although it would appear many employers are likely to pay employees on this particular day, it is not a legal obligation to do so.

Employers are therefore, subject to their contracts of employment, free to choose whether any payments shall be made for this day’s holiday.