HR expert Nicky Jolley, founder and managing director of HR2day, is warning employees to steer clear of assuming they have a bonus bank holiday in 2022, to avoid falling foul of company rules.

It has been announced that the UK will have an additional bank holiday on 3 June to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, however many people are unaware that granting this holiday is down to the employer’s discretion and not a legal requirement.

According to government guidance about statutory holiday entitlement, bank or public holidays do not have to be given as paid leave and an employer can choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave.

This means that some companies may require employees to take the holiday as a day of annual leave or may not observe the bank holiday at all.

Nicky Jolley said: “Basically, it all comes down to your contracts. Do you state the number of bank holidays specifically or is the wording very woolly? We’ve supported many businesses with the wording of their contracts to make sure everyone knows what they are and aren’t entitled to when it comes to annual leave.

“While there’s no legal requirement to give the additional bank holiday, I’d also recommend employers consider the morale of their staff. We’ve gone through two incredibly tough years and still appear to have more to come, and perhaps this ‘freebie’ day off could be a good reward for your team.

“Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to clearly communicate with staff, so that there’s no upset and hard feeling when it comes to June. Worse still, you could find that no one turns up for work, thinking you’ve shut up shop for a long weekend!

“If you’re an employee, remember that, before you break out the bunting, check that your employer has granted the bank holiday, or you could end up red (white and blue) faced!”