The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29 April 2011 has been declared as an additional public holiday. This announcement has caused much confusion for Employers and Employees alike.
Are Employer’s obligated to provide time off on the 29th April 2011? The legal position is that there is no automatic entitlement for an employee to take leave on 29 April 2011 simply because it has been announced as a public holiday. Whether or not an employee will be entitled to take an additional paid holiday on this date will depend on the specific wording of their contract of employment in relation to public holidays.
The only legal obligation on an employer is to allow their workers the minimum annual leave laid down in the Working Time Regulations 1998 (28 days for a full-time worker). If the contract of employment states that an employee is entitled to a set number of holidays per year (as long as it is not below the statutory minimum), then employees working under the contract will not be entitled to an extra day on top of their stated contractual allowance and it will be a matter for the employers discretion whether they grant employees the day off for the royal wedding bank holiday in addition to their usual contractual entitlement.
This will also be the position where contracts of employment specify particular bank holiday dates. However, where a contract of employment states that the employee is entitled to all bank holidays, employers may be bound to grant the additional day.