Bank holiday for the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

Advice for optical practices and NHS contractors

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The UK Government has announced that Monday 19 September, the date of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral, will be a national bank holiday.

This will allow individuals, businesses and other organisations to pay their respects to her Majesty and commemorate her reign, while marking the final day of the period of national mourning.

In accordance with other UK bank holidays, optical practices are not contractually required to be open to the public. The decision to open the practice sits with each individual contractor.

Contractors will have received this advice via a letter from NHS England. For clarity, there is no need for contractors to notify NHS England or their ICB.

To understand if you or your employees are entitled to this extra day off, and, if so, what impact this will have on holiday entitlement you will need to look at the contract of employment.

Employers may wish to check contracts of employment as soon as possible, to advise staff of their holiday entitlement for 2022, and plan for the impact of the long weekend on business.

Employees’ entitlement to bank holidays

There are usually eight bank holidays in England and Wales, nine in Scotland and ten in Northern Ireland.

However, not all public holidays are necessarily included as part of an employee’s holiday entitlement under their contract, and there is no automatic right to have time off on a bank holiday, as it will usually depend on the employer’s policy and business needs, which will be reflected in the wording of contracts.

Most employment contracts will contain one of these three types of wording relating to bank holidays:

  1. The contract confirms that employees are entitled to take the usual bank holidays

    In this case, employees would only be entitled to the normal bank holidays. They would therefore not be entitled to take the additional Bank holiday on 19 September.

  2. The contract confirms that employees are entitled to time off on bank holidays

    Employees would be contractually entitled to a day’s holiday on Monday 19 September.

  3. The contract lists the bank holidays that employees are entitled to take as leave, expressly including ‘the Spring bank holiday’

    In this situation employees would not be entitled to the additional bank holiday on 19 September.

Closing the practice on Monday 19 September

If the practice intends to close and require staff to take annual leave on the day of closure (in cases where there is no contractual right to have the bank holiday off) it will be required to give two clear days’ notice of this or longer (depending what the contract says). This means staff should be informed of this not later than Friday. In practice, it will be better for the employer to confirm these arrangements with staff as soon as possible. 

Allowing flexibility around bank holidays

Some contracts will allow flexibility as to when bank holidays are to be taken meaning that some employers may wish to ask certain staff to work on the bank holiday and offer an alternative day off instead.

Where employers would like to allow staff the additional day off, this could be agreed with staff as a temporary change to their terms and conditions, and preferably recorded in writing.

Part time employees and bank holidays

A common query is how to calculate and manage bank holiday entitlement for part time employees. The first step is to check the wording of the contract of employment to determine which of these two types of wording your contract has:

  1. All eight bank holidays are included in the annual leave entitlement

    This means all employees would have to take bank holidays as part of their paid annual leave. A full-time employee with the minimum holiday entitlement would have 20 paid holiday days and eight ‘fixed’ paid bank holiday days.

  2. In addition to bank and public holidays, your annual entitlement to holidays is 25 days

    This would mean you pay all bank and public holidays in addition to 25 paid holiday days giving your employees a total of 33 days annual leave.

Calculating part time employees’ entitlement

Employers must ensure that all employees have at least the statutory minimum holiday allowance and that part-time employees are not treated less favourably than full-time employees.

The minimum statutory holiday entitlement for any employee is calculated by multiplying the number of days worked per week by a minimum factor of 5.6 (28 holiday days/five work days). The result is the minimum number of days of annual leave that the worker is statutorily entitled to, which is capped at 28 days (even if an employee works six or seven days a week).

For example, if a part-time employee works two days a week, then the calculation is 2 x 5.6 = 11.2, meaning the worker gets 11.2 days annual leave. This would usually be rounded up to 11.5 or 12 days annual leave to keep things simple.

If as an employer you have decided to offer more than the minimum of 28 days holiday entitlement to your full-time employees, for example a total of 33 days annual holiday entitlement including bank holidays, the ‘holiday ratio’ increases to 6.6 (33 holiday days/five workdays).

The part-time employee working two days a week would now be entitled to 2 x 6.6 = 13.2 days annual leave. This could be rounded up to 13.5 days but cannot be rounded down.

You can also use the GOV.UK holiday calculator

Calculating pro rata bank holiday entitlement for part-time employees

First look at how many bank holidays your full-time workers receive. This will usually be eight paid bank holidays. If they work a 40 hour week, these employees are receiving 64 hours’ worth of bank holiday leave (eight days x eight working hours per day).

If your part-time employee works two-days per week the calculation would be how many hours they work (16 hours) divided by the number of hours in a working week (40 hours) multiplied by 64 (the bank holiday leave entitlement for all staff x regular hours in working day). So the calculation would be (16/40) X 64 = 25.6 hours.

Or in terms of days, the calculation would be 2/5 X 8 = 3.2 days.

What if a part-time employee works on a Monday and Friday?

As an example, there is a comparison between two part time employees:

Employee A works part time two days/week on Tuesday and Thursday.

Employee B works part time two days/week on Monday and Friday.

Full-time employees are entitled to 33 days holiday entitlement including bank holidays and the 'holiday ratio’ is 6.6 (33 holidays/five workdays).

Both part-time employees are entitled to a total of 13.2 days annual leave (2 x 6.6).

Employee A would deduct *two of the 13.2 days annual leave for the Tuesday and Thursday bank holidays (based on English bank holidays).

Employee B would deduct six* of the 13.2 days annual leave for the Monday and Friday bank holidays. Unless the contract allows the employee to take 3 June as bank holiday, in which case, seven days would be deducted.