Employee Holidays: the Queen’s funeral

12th September 2022
Birmingham employment solicitor on the right to disconnect

Death of Queen Elizabeth II; a Queen’s funeral and affect on Holiday entitlement in England and Wales.

Last week saw the sad passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest (and arguably most successful) ruling Monarch in England’s history.  She died aged 96.

As the UK enters a period of mourning, and prepares for her funeral there have been many questions asked as to what will happen on the day; there has been much speculation as to whether it will be a national holiday and what that will mean for UK Businesses.

Over the weekend it was announced that the funeral, which will take place on Monday 19 September 2022 will officially be declared a bank holiday, but there has been much discussion as to what that actually means.

Bank Holiday

The announcement of the Bank Holiday means that government linked workplaces, save for the emergency services, will be closed, as too will public functions such as schools. However, what about private businesses?

Below we address some of the key questions to try to assist businesses in negotiating a path through the present minefield.

Does the declaration of a Bank Holiday mean that we have to close?

The fact that a Bank holiday has been announced does not mean that every business in the UK has to close. Whilst many will likely decide to do so as a display of respect, it is ultimately entirely a decision for the business owners as to whether or not they wish to open on that day.

Of course when doing so they will have to consider the:

  • needs of their staff both in terms of the difficulties with schools closing etc., and;
  • personal views and strength of opinion of the staff who may wish to pay their respects, and;
  • their position, the demands upon them, and the likely effect of the funeral on their business. For some it simply may not be viable for example if they depend on passing trade and everything around them is closed, or if they support emergency services etc. by contrast for others they may not have to bear such considerations in mind.

In the event that a business closes, do all staff get an extra days paid holiday?

Sadly the answer to this question is somewhat more difficult and there is not a definitive answer; that will only be answerable by reference to the contracts of employment. In short:

  • If staff are given bank holidays as part of their contractual benefits, then they will be entitled to an additional day off.
  • If staff do not have that provision in their contracts then the matter will be one for the Employer:
    • If the employees have sufficient holiday remaining then the Employer may decide that Monday 19 September 2022 will be taken from their holiday entitlement. If they are going to do so then they will need either staff agreement, or will need to serve notice under the Working Time Regulations. That notice must be at least twice as long as the holiday to be taken. As such to force staff to take a day’s leave then 2 full days will need to be given, for most working Monday to Friday that means that any notice will need to be given by no later than the end of the day on Wednesday 14 September 2022.
    • If the employer closes their doors and the staff are willing and ready to work, and they have no holiday left, then there is an argument that payment for the day may be due.
    • Where the employer wishes to open but staff want to take the time off then it may be that holiday can be requested and granted at short notice or if there is insufficient holiday available then employers may agree that on this occasion staff can take time off unpaid, but such would be discretionary.

What about part time staff where a business closes?

For part time staff working who would normally work on a Monday the rules above will apply.

For those who would not normally work on a Monday then their hours of work are not affected, and so they will not need to use a days holiday, nor would they get given any additional time off or additional pay.

For those staff who are zero hour workers, then their normal working rules will apply; if they are not required then they need not attend work and they will only be paid for the hours they work, in the usual manner.

Do staff get paid extra if they are required to work on a Bank Holiday?

There is no legal requirement to pay an enhanced rate on a Bank Holiday for those staff required to work.

However, again this will fall down to the contractual position, and what has been negotiated with staff and or their representative bodies. If there is a contractual provision, workplace agreement or collective agreement then Employers will need to comply with the terms of that, failure to do so will amount to a breach of contract and may see grievance raised and ultimately see claims issued if employers depart from such terms.

Practical Points

There are of course practical points to consider when looking at such decisions, and employers will need to ensure that there is a fairness as to how the staff are treated across the board when any decisions are being made, and particularly where some staff may be required to attend work how those are chosen, failure to do so may give rise to further complaints and grievances, which will no doubt only serve to take up valuable management time in resolving.

If you need assistance with employment law please contact Jason Alcock, a Director in the Employment team here at Ansons Solicitors. You can reach him on 01543 267196 or by email at


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