Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral has been announced to take place on Monday 19th September 2022.

To mark the last day of the period of national mourning, Monday 19th September 2022 has been declared a national Bank Holiday.

This additional bank holiday is to allow individuals, businesses and other organisations to pay their respects to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth and commemorate her platinum reign.

Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral is an unprecedented event; and this weekend’s announcement of a sudden additional Bank Holiday, next week, has raised questions for both employers and employees.

In particular, sectors such as hospitality and leisure, care, retail, manufacturing and transport are among those where the impact to business operations of an unexpected and imminent, additional bank holiday can be much greater.

As such, please find below answers to two of the most pertinent questions on the topic.

Are employers obligated to provide time off for the Queen’s funeral?

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 or for an unprecedented event.

When it comes to employers’ obligations regarding time off on bank holidays, it depends what exactly is stated within an employee’s contract of employment.

Given the majority of employees are entitled to 28 days holiday (the current legal requirement under the Working Time Regulations 1998), the additional holiday of Monday 19th September 2022 for the Queen’s funeral, should not affect this legal minimum entitlement for most employees.

If it is stated in an employee’s contract of employment that they are entitled to time off on Bank Holidays, then they shall be entitled to the extra day off for the Queen’s funeral.

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 this effect. In the event that this is not the case, employers will need to seek an employee’s written consent to get them to work the additional Bank Holiday.

As the Bank Holiday will be a unique national moment; the Government is encouraging employers to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take time off.

From the feedback from clients we have so far; as a mark of respect, most employers are without any hesitation honouring the Bank Holiday and closing businesses on Monday 19th September 2022. This approach allows everyone to pay their respects to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II; and be part of a once in a lifetime historic event.

Do employers have to pay employees on 19th September 2022?

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 will be made to employees for this day’s holiday.

From the further feedback from our clients, most employers are approaching this delicately and are paying their staff.

If you require advice in relation to any aspect of employment law, including advice on contracts of employment and employee holidays, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Call 0845 287 0939, get in touch by email, or chat to us through the online chat below.