The Queen will have been on the throne for 60 years next year.  It was announced recently that the Government has allowed a bank holiday in celebration, on Tuesday 5 June 2012.  Given the May bank holiday is being moved to Monday 4 June 2010, this will mean a 4 day weekend for many people.

What of the position in Scotland?  Well, the Scottish Government has confirmed that the bank holiday will apply to Scotland.  So the whole of the UK can enjoy the celebrations.  Or can they?

As I mentioned in connection with this year’s Royal Wedding bank holiday, the right to a day off on a bank holiday is not automatic.

Statutory requirements entitle full time employees to a minimum of 5.6 weeks holiday per year (28 days for a full time employee working 5 days a week), there is no statutory right for employees to have time off, either paid or unpaid, on bank holidays. Often employers will specify the number of days that employees are entitled to per year and state that this figure is inclusive of any bank holidays.

As with the royal wedding bank holiday, if the contract of employment specifies that an employee is entitled to a set number of holiday days per year (as long as it is not below the statutory minimum), then employees working under the contract will not be entitled to an extra day on top of their stated contractual allowance and it will be a matter for the employer’s discretion whether they grant employees the day off for the diamond jubilee bank holiday in addition to their usual contractual entitlement.

If a contract of employment states that the employee is entitled to all bank holidays, employers may be bound to grant the additional day. However, it is unlikely that many contracts will include such provisions. It is fairly common, if separate reference is made in a contract to bank holidays for the specific bank holidays to be stated or for a specific number of bank holidays to be stated.

Accordingly, the key thing for employers to do when deciding what to do is to look to the contractual position. If there is no contractual entitlement it remains to be seen whether the majority of employers will allow an extra day off next year.