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Bank Holiday For The Queen's Funeral; Does Your Employer Have To Give You The Day Off?

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Monday 19 September, the date of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral, will be a national bank holiday for the whole of the UK. This will allow individuals, businesses and other organisations to pay their respects to Her Majesty and commemorate Her reign while marking the final day of the period of national mourning.

Many businesses will be closed for at least some of the day, with many, including Primark and John Lewis, being closed all day, and other companies expected to follow suit, with most supermarkets expecting to be closed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral service, to allow for their staff and customers to be able to pay their respects.

Do I have to work if my company aren't closing?

There will be companies who won't be closing for the funeral, and of course, many care workers and frontline NHS and emergency services are still needed to be on duty, as well as transport workers, who will be vital for the same movement of those wishing to travel to pay their respects.

The workers who would like not to be working yet are being asked/ told they must work; this is a matter for discussion between individuals and their employer. There is no statutory entitlement to time off for bank holidays, but employers may include bank holidays as part of a worker’s leave entitlement in their contract.

The government cannot interfere in existing contractual arrangements between employers and workers. The Government expects that many workers will be able to take the day off on the bank holiday. It expects employers to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take the day of the funeral off work.

It's suspected that workers who usually would receive a day off, paid, from their employer, in addition to their annual leave entitlement, on a normal bank holiday, will also receive this additional holiday. Those workers who have to take a bank holiday as part of their annual leave entitlement will also have this option. Still, anyone with no additional leave left to take will need to speak to their employer to find a solution and may have to take the day as unpaid or owed should the business be closed, giving the worker no option to work.

Schools and further education will be closed for the bank holiday, and so workers may have to arrange child care should their workplace choose to stay open. It's hoped that with the short notice of the extra bank holiday, employers may be a little more understanding as to their employee's child care predicament.

The workers who may normally receive an additional payment for working on a bank holiday will need to seek guidance from their employer, as there is no official legal requirement for employers to pay an extra bank holiday rate. So under these unusual conditions, employers may decide not to pay an enhanced rate. Staff should speak with their bosses about if they will get a day’s holiday in lieu if they do work the funeral date.

Those staff who would normally want to work but can't due to their employer being closed or semi-closed will need to speak to their employer to determine if they will still be paid and if they are willing but unable to work. Not everyone may wish to be involved in the funeral or can not afford not to be working, including the self-employed. So it is hoped that employers will be sympathetic to both sides of those wishing to be involved in the funeral and those who don't wish to participate.

It feels wrong to mention this, but it's true, so I will, and that is that businesses will have a financial hit to their business for a loss of a day's trade. Earlier in the year, certain companies had a surge of extra sales when the nation celebrated the Queen's Jubilee, with a large majority of the nation spending cash on celebratory products such as food and drink; however, obviously, people will be celebrating the Queen's life, rather than a more social event, and so people won't be partying and spending money in the same way they did earlier. This and the loss of revenue to the companies who have closed for the day, plus the extra costs associated with being closed, such as increased wages, on top of decreased revenue, has brought fears that the loss of business may be enough to raise inflation and this would then officially put the UK into recession, which will, of course, have a wide-ranging financial impact.

There is a good chance that another extra bank holiday will be added to diaries, later in the year, when King Charles The Third, will officially have his coronation, however, the Queen did not have her official coronation until a year after becoming Queen, and so it's expected that this new coronation will take place in 2023.

The late monarch's funeral will take place at 11 am on Monday, September 19th, 2022.


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