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Are you legally obliged to give your employees a day off for the Coronation?

Posted by Lotty Reeves on 21st March 2023

But where do employers stand in all this? We may well like the idea of our workforce spending the day with their families around the TV marking this important constitutional moment, but how do we ensure the impact on our business operation is minimal? We had two additional bank holidays last year and the prospect of another day without a workforce could have an effect on the bottom line.

So, are we legally obliged to give everyone a day’s holiday for the Coronation? Stephen Elliott partner and head of employment law at The Endeavour Partnership explores the topic and explains the factors employers should be considering.

“Well, the first thing to remember is that the Coronation is set to take place on a Saturday; Saturday 6 May, to be precise. So, those people who don’t work at weekends won’t need a day off to watch it as they’ll not be at work anyway. Yet with something like only six per cent of the UK’s workforce now working the traditional 9am-to-5pm-on-Mondays-to-Fridays pattern, the chances are that many employees will be expected at work at the point the crown passes to the new King.

“It is important to note, there are no special rules about the Coronation. Nobody has the right to take time off, and there will be plenty of people in our shops, hospitals, cafes, airports and trains who’ll be required to work exactly as normal. The needs of the business legitimately come first.

“Some employees are likely to ask for a day’s holiday, and the usual rules will apply. Where too many people want to be off at the same time, the employer will need to follow its own procedures and act fairly and transparently when deciding whose requests to grant and whose to refuse.

“There is of course a commemorative bank holiday on the following Monday, 8 May. As was the case last year, this is over and above the eight normal bank holidays allocated each year. Some businesses are likely to want to trade as normal if they do on any other bank holiday, but the banks, local government and many offices will choose to close. An employer who normally closes on bank holidays but wishes for whatever reason to stay open on 8 May will need to check the wording of its employment contracts carefully to see whether staff are contractually entitled to take the extra day.”

The expert team at The Endeavour Partnership are available to support you if you need any help managing employee expectations, dealing with competing holiday demands or clarifying the contractual position. Contact us.

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