Prince William and Kate Middleton are getting married on Friday 29 April at Westminster Abbey. David Cameron has stated that it will be a "happy and momentous occasion". However, as a public holiday has been announced to mark the occasion, this may not be the viewpoint of all employers.
Do employers have to grant their employees a holiday on this date? That depends on the employee's contract of employment. Where a contract provides for a specific number of days off plus public holidays, the employer will have to allow the employee to take paid time off on the 29 of April.
If, however, the contract provides for a specific number of days off including public holidays then the employer may be entitled to refuse the extra day off. The same will apply to contracts where the wording of the provisions specifically name or number the public holidays which the employee is entitled to.
It has been suggested that employers should grant the day off as a gesture of goodwill, but that is not necessarily practical or financially viable, especially for smaller businesses who may be struggling in the current climate. Furthermore, if employers do grant this holiday it will fall the week after the Easter weekend where most staff will be entitled to take holidays leading to more lost production.
To be prepared ahead of April employers should check their employee's contracts of employment. It is also important that employers communicate with staff and inform them what the position is in order to minimise the risk of disputes or grievances spoiling what will undoubtedly be a big day of celebration in the country.