Working on bank holidays: your questions answered

If you were asked to work this Easter bank holiday weekend, you may be entitled to a day off from your employer.

This isn’t guaranteed, and depends on your annual leave allowance, however it pays to check.

We’ve taken a few FAQs and provided some As to your burning Qs:

Do I have a legal right not to work a bank holiday?

Opposing to common belief, there is no legal right to take bank holidays off work. The right to take bank holidays off will all depend on the wording of your job contract.

Employers must give full-time employees a minimum of 28 days off work per year, which is calculated pro-rata for part-time employees.

This can include bank holidays, although sometimes a contract will state 20 days of annual leave plus eight bank holidays. However, there is nothing to stop employers giving holiday in excess of the 28 minimum days.

Your employer is legally allowed to ask you to work all eight bank holidays, provided you are given eight days off in lieu.

In other words, you do not have a legal right to refuse to work a bank holiday.

If I work a bank holiday am I legally entitled to take a day off in lieu?

If it states in your contract that you have 28 days of annual leave including bank holidays and you are asked to work a bank holiday, you should be entitled to a day off in lieu.

On the other hand, it is at your employer’s discretion which bank holidays you have to work, depending on when and if your workplace needs to be open.

Is my employer breaking the law if they haven’t offered me a day in lieu?

If you work full time, in most cases the answer is yes. However they would only be breaking the law if they fail to offer you a day off in lieu.

What action can I take if my employer has refused to give me a day in lieu?

Again, this will depend on your contract of employment and annual leave entitlement. Yet if you get less than the legal minimum of 28 days annual leave, you could make a complaint to the Employment Tribunal for a breach of Working Time Regulations.

If you ever feel that you may need an employment law solicitor, our team of experts are here to help you from consultation to representation. Call 0800 157 7055 to find out more.

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