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Public (Bank) Holidays

Public (Bank) Holidays.

A brief comment on Bank Holidays.  A friend pointed out to me that because of the way the dates fell, if your employer’s holiday year is from 1 April to 31 March, this meant that there were only 7 bank holidays in the year 2017/2018 and consequently 9 bank holidays in 2018/2019.  So what, you may say….

This is perhaps of no major concern if your usual holiday allowance is 21 days or more per year and the public holidays are paid in addition to that.  Your contract of employment should be clear on this since your employer does not have to give you paid leave on public holidays.  You can imagine that there are some sectors in which public holidays would be some of their busiest times.

The number of bank holidays in a year becomes an issue if your contractual holiday is calculated based upon 20 days plus 8 public holidays, making up the legal minimum of 5.6 weeks in total (20 days being typically 5 days x 4 weeks, plus 8 days of 1 week of 5 days and 3 other days making the remaining 60% required).  Confused? 

Rest assured that these sorts of holiday calculations are incredibly confusing even for those who attempt them regularly.

The point in this situation is that if your holiday is based on 20 days plus 8 bank holidays, totalling 28 days or 5.6 weeks, having only 7 bank holidays takes you below the legal minimum holiday allowance.   What does this mean and what can you do about it?

Since the time has now passed, the retroactive possibilities are limited.  You could have legitimately asked for an additional holiday during the last holiday year that has just ended on 31 March.  Since you are not theoretically allowed to carry over statutory holiday to the following year, this also further limits your options.  However, the other side of the coin is that you have an additional day of holiday during this current year, which your employer does not actually have to pay you for, but we will presume they will. 

The fact remains that you have effectively lost a day of holiday last year but are gaining one this year.

At this point, I would be inclined towards the philosophy of it all balancing out in the end…..