Four things every employer needs to know about bank holidays

It’s that time of year again. An extra-long, Bank Holiday weekend is just around the corner. It’s an eagerly awaited event, and let’s face it, who doesn’t like a bit of extra rest around a jam-packed weekend?

But in reality, there are eight permanent bank holidays per year in the UK. And for employers, it’s one of the busiest times of the year.

If bank holiday admin – managing holiday requests, calculating annual leave and working out holiday pay – is giving you the bank holiday blues, here are four surprising things every employer should know.

  1. There’s no legal entitlement to bank holidays off

You don’t actually have to grant employees bank holidays or public holidays as paid leave. There’s no legal precedent that says these days must be paid

As an employer, it’s entirely up to you whether you choose to offer bank holidays as paid leave. Whatever you do choose, your employees’ entitlement to paid leave should always be outlined in an employment contract.

  1. You don’t have to pay extra if people work on bank holidays

It’s a common myth that if a person works on a bank holiday they will get time-and-a-half or even double time. This is actually untrue.

There’s no statutory right to pay employees extra if they work bank or public holidays. Once again, if there are any occasions where an employee would be entitled to extra pay, it would have to be clearly outlined in a contract of employment.

  1. Watch out for ‘statutory entitlement plus bank holidays’ wording

Back in 2009, the statutory minimum leave allowance increased to 5.6 weeks from four. A full-time employee’s entitlement is 28 statutory days per year.

There are eight bank holidays in England and Wales, nine in Scotland and a whopping 10 in Northern Ireland. It’s essential that the wording in your contracts of employment is clear as to whether you include bank holidays within that 28-day allowance – or if you offer them in addition.

  1. Treat part-time or shift-working employees fairly

When someone works for you on a part-time or shift basis, it’s important you make sure they’re not treated unfairly when it comes to their bank holiday entitlement. In fact, the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations, introduced in 2000, stated that part-time staff are entitled to the same terms as full-time workers, but on a pro-rata basis.

The best way to work out annual leave entitlement for your part-time and shift working employees is to give them a pro-rated allowance. Even if someone doesn’t typically work on the days that bank holidays fall, it’s best practice to work it this way.


Beat the bank holiday bustle with Citation

If the wheels are spinning just trying to wrap your head around complicated annual leave adjustments – or you just need a helping hand in getting your HR in order – the Citation team is always here for you.

If you want to find out how much more we can do for you, give one of our advisors a call today on 0345 844 1111 or drop us a note at

Already a Citation client? We’re just at the other end of the phone and we’re here 24/7. Just give our advice line a call on 0345 844 4848.

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