The government has confirmed an additional bank holiday in June 2022 to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee. The spring bank holiday, which usually takes place at the end of May, is being moved to Thursday 2 June 2022 and there will be an additional bank holiday on Friday 3 June.
For most schools, the additional bank holiday on 3 June will fall within the May half term break and many of their staff will already be off work. Many schools are, however, questioning whether their staff will be entitled to time off, or to be paid in lieu.
Bank holidays in the UK
Typically, in England and Wales there are eight bank holidays. For 2022, there are nine bank holidays.
In 2007, the statutory annual leave entitlement was increased from four weeks to 4.8 weeks and then to 5.6 weeks in 2009. This represented a total increase of eight days for a full-time worker, reflecting the eight bank holidays.
Whilst the additional eight days reflect the number of bank holidays, there is no statutory right to take bank holidays as paid annual leave, or be paid in lieu of them. The right to take leave on such days is governed by the express or implied terms of the worker’s contract and any variation that may be agreed.
Whether or not a specific staff member is entitled to take leave on the platinum jubilee bank holiday will therefore depend on the terms of their contract of employment. We recommend that schools check the wording of individual contracts and seek legal advice, if required.
By way of guidance, we have considered the relevant clauses in the ISBA model contracts and have set out two example scenarios where an employee may be entitled, or not, to paid time off on 3 June 2022.
If the contract sets out that an employee is entitled to X amount of days plus bank/public holidays (rather than setting out a specific number of bank holidays, or specifying the ‘usual’ bank holidays), then it is likely that the employee will be entitled to the additional bank holiday. This wording tends to be used for employees who work all year round, for example a bursar.
However, this does not necessarily mean they will be entitled to time off on 3 June 2022. If the contract of employment states that ‘public holidays occurring when the school is in session will be working days’, the provisions of the contract of employment would override any entitlement to time off during the additional bank holiday, should this fall within term time.
If the employee is entitled to the extra bank holiday by virtue of the wording in the contract, but required by the school to work, it is likely that the employee would be entitled to:
- Time off in lieu at a later date
- Receive a payment in lieu of the additional day (given that it is in excess of the statutory entitlement).
That said, we recognise that for that most, if not all, schools the 3 June bank holiday will fall within the half-term break and, as such, this issue is less likely to arise in practice and there will no entitlement to further pay or time off in lieu.
If the contract states that an employee is entitled to ‘the statutory minimum holiday entitlement under the Working Time Regulations 1998 which is to be taken during school holidays’ then it is unlikely that there would be any additional entitlement in respect of the above bank holiday. This wording is often used in contracts for teaching staff.
Once schools have considered individual entitlement, we would recommend that they communicate this to staff in order to manage expectations.
Although not directly relevant to independent schools, as on previous similar occasions (for example the 2012 diamond jubilee or 2011 royal wedding), the DfE has amended the Education (School Day and School Year) (England) Regulations 1999 to reduce the school year 2021/22 for maintained schools to a minimum of 189 days. This is to allow schools to close on 3 June 2022 or on another day.
The DfE will also amend the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document 2021/22 to reduce the number of days that teachers must be available to work and the 1265 hours of ‘directed time’ to 1258.5 hours for that year. Whilst independent schools are not obliged to follow the national pay and conditions of service, some choose to do so and therefore should you require further information on the changes, we recommend taking legal advice.