Q: Will temporary workers be entitled to receive the extra bank holiday this year for the Royal Wedding? -

Q: Will temporary workers be entitled to receive the extra bank holiday this year for the Royal Wedding?

A: In England and Wales there are normally eight bank and public holidays each year (Scotland has nine, Northern Ireland has ten), but in 2011 there will be an additional public holiday on 29 April to celebrate the Royal Wedding.

Workers do not have any specific statutory right to take paid leave on public holidays or even to take a day off or be paid a day in lieu if they work on a public holiday.

Workers do however have a statutory entitlement to take 5.6 weeks paid holiday per year (or equivalent) but this can be inclusive of all of the bank and public holidays.

The question of whether a worker will benefit from the extra holiday this year will therefore depend entirely on the provisions of the worker’s contract.

Temporary workers typically work under a contract for services which generally means that they have a degree of flexibility as to when they work, as in most cases they will not be subject to an obligation to undertake work which is offered to them. Subject to the contract then, a temporary worker could elect not to work on 29 April and if the temporary worker is only paid for hours actually worked then this would be unpaid. However, a temporary worker could seek to take the day as paid leave if he or she has any remaining holiday entitlement, subject to normal procedures that apply under the contract for booking paid leave.

Some contracts may specify that where a bank or public holiday falls on a day on which the worker would be working, this will automatically be treated as paid annual leave from the worker’s holiday entitlement, in which case this would apply.

If a worker’s contract states that the worker is entitled to a set amount of days paid leave plus bank and public holidays, (e.g. 20 days plus bank/public holidays) the worker will be entitled to the benefit of the extra holiday, unless the contract contains provisions to specifically limit the bank and holidays to the usual bank/public holidays.

Just as a reminder, the same issues are likely to arise again as we are set to have an additional holiday on 5 June 2012 in England and Wales and Northern Ireland to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee.

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