Next year – 2020 – marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe Day) and the Government has decided that the usual early May Bank Holiday which is traditionally on a Monday will change.

The decision was made to enable as many people as possible to take time to celebrate the end of World War Two and to honour and remember the many heroes and sacrifices that were made.

This means that Friday 8th May will be the early Bank Holiday in 2020, not Monday 4th May.

When it comes to thinking about employees and any entitlement to time off or pay in respect of bank holidays, no one should be worse off as a result of the change. In some cases, getting this wrong could result in a breach of contract or even a breach of the Working Time Regulations 1998 – which gives all workers an entitlement to a minimum amount of annual leave per year.

For many employers who usually close on bank holidays, this will be a straightforward swap. Friday will be the day off with the normal holiday pay, and the business will open on the Monday and employees will come into work as usual. Employers who usually remain open on bank holidays are unlikely to have many issues as their employees are likely to have an equivalent amount of annual leave already incorporated into their ‘pot’ of holiday entitlement which they are free to book off when they like.

But confusion is likely to arise amongst employers (and employees too!) in organisations who normally close on bank holidays but choose to remain open on the Friday, and for those who have part-time staff affected by Fridays and Mondays.

Further HR Guidance

Employees are usually (and understandably!) very protective over their holiday. For this reason, we would advise deciding early on whether your organisation will be closed or will remain open and clearly communicate any impact on your colleagues and how this will be managed. This should help to head off any concerns or avoidable grievances!

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