Bank Holidays and Leave Leave In Great Britain | Instant News

It’s almost Easter weekend, though we believe it has gone through a lot by providing the basic nature of life today.

However, bank holidays are scheduled for April 10 and 13, 2020 (and there are several more in May). With regard to employees who have been on leave, this raises two questions:

  • Can an employee who is on vacation also take a vacation?

  • If they can, what should they pay?

Government guidance is strangely silent on the issue of holidays and leave – perhaps because holidays have become a very complex topic given European principles and case law.

However, we will try to give you a direct answer that reflects the position we think is most likely. Please note that there will be many nuances with respect to employment conditions and individual work arrangements, but below we discuss broad principles.


Can an employee who is on vacation also take a vacation?

Bank holiday?

Yes While the Coronavirus Government Employment Retention Scheme guidelines are unclear about this, it has recently been revised non-binding ACona Coronavirus guidelines said:

Bank holidays are usually part of the minimum legal holiday paid 5.6 weeks. Employees and workers must get the usual salary for bank holidays.

Employees and workers may still be required to use paid days off for bank holidays, including when they are on leave. If bank holidays are given above paid holidays of 5.6 weeks, employees and workers must check their contracts or talk to their employers about taking this vacation.

This seems to indicate that an employer can still expect an employee with leave to treat bank holidays as annual leave (ie, and not have an extended vacation). Many employment contracts have been prepared on the basis that a bank holiday will be considered a holiday.

What about other annual leave?

English law does not distinguish between bank holidays and other holidays. Therefore, if a bank holiday is treated the same as other annual leave as a legal matter, in principle it seems as if an employee can take leave and annual leave at the same time without violating the leave period. The ACAS Coronavirus guide includes further statements:

If an employee is ‘on leave’ (temporarily sent home because there is no work), they can still request and take their vacation in the normal way. This includes taking bank holidays.

However, employers must be measured about requiring employees who use leave to take vacations during the leave period. An employer can be found to have abused a worker’s right to take a vacation by requiring the vacation to be taken in circumstances where he effectively deprives workers of his choice in this regard.

Therefore, although it does not appear to be harassment that requires holidays to be taken on bank holidays, it may also be harassment that requires other holidays (or other excessive amounts) to be taken during leave.

Employers will no doubt be expected to use the new facilities that allow holidays of 20 days to be extended for the next two years of vacation in preference to requiring employees to run holidays during leave.

What do employees have to pay for the holidays?

The case law clarifies time and again that the official employee holiday pay must be in accordance with normal remuneration based on the actual work period. It must not be based on or account for periods of inactivity.

The application of this principle would mean that an employee taking a vacation, including bank holidays, while on leave must be paid their “normal remuneration” based on what they would pay if they worked normally on those days.

Given the protectionist approach taken by the court to the holiday issue to date, there is currently no reason to think that this fundamental position will change. This is especially true because of new facilities that allow the core vacation to be rolled out for more than two years.

For employers who pay 100% during leave, the answer is easy. Pay as usual.

For those who have reduced payments during leave to an amount that can be reclaimed under the Job Retention Scheme, that is more difficult. The options are:

  • Pay in full normal payments for bank holidays. Namely, if your salary can handle it.

  • Remain silent about this issue, and wait for the government to clarify this issue. Any payment shortages can be made later, if necessary. Tell any employee who raises a problem that that’s what you do.

  • Mark this problem to employees about leave and say that you are waiting for clarification and any repairs, of course, will be done.

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