The Queen’s Passing – what to expect in the workplace

It is with great sadness we write this update. Whilst no details have been announced yet, the following is what to expect in terms of the workplace.  It is expected that employers will wish to voluntarily cooperate with national arrangements.

It is anticipated that a bank holiday will be called to coincide with the day of the Queen’s funeral. Like all bank holidays there will be no legal right to that time off as a matter of law.  There may however be a right based on contract.

Contractual right to bank holidays

Employers should check the wording of their contract.  If the contract entitles the employee to be paid for “8 bank holidays per year”, or “the usual bank holidays in England and Wales”, then there is no right to paid for the extra bank holiday.

In addition, there is no entitlement in the private sector to take the time off.

If however, the contract states that the employee is entitled to a certain amount of holiday “plus/in addition to bank holidays” then as a matter of contract the employee will be entitled to that time off. The contract wording will specify whether normal pay applies.

Employees unable to attend work

Regardless of the above there will be employees unable to attend work. It is likely that schools will be closed for example, and many parents will find childcare on this occasion impossible. There will almost certainly be restrictions to public services and this may result in staff lateness or absence.

There is a legal right for employees to take unpaid time off to arrange for family care and employers should be wary about taking action against staff where this reason is cited for a day of absence.

Best advice

The best advice for employers is to be patient and flexible if at all possible. This should be a day of national unity and putting aside the legal aspects, the PR damage of punishing a staff member who wishes to mark the passing of our Queen may well be considerable.

If you have any questions we will be glad to guide you.

God save the King.

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