Change to May Day Bank Holiday in 2020

Posted 11/07/2019 : By: Kathryn Pratt

Due to the 75th anniversary of VE day in 2020, the Government have announced a nationwide change to Bank Holidays next year.

May Day is usually the first Monday in May, but in 2020, it will be replaced by a public holiday on Friday 8 May to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

The change to the Bank Holidays may have implications for your business depending on the following:

  • does your business usually open on a Bank Holiday?
  • do you employ part-time staff?
  • how do you calculate annual leave for part time employees?

The direct swap of Bank Holiday from the 4th to the 8th of May means there is no need to re-calculate full-time holiday entitlements any differently next year. 

The change will however affect part-time workers or employees with irregular working hours as Bank Holidays are treated as part of their annual leave entitlement.

Part-time employees who would not normally work Fridays will benefit from a hypothetical increase in holiday entitlement, as they won’t need to book any time off. On the other hand, those normally off on a Monday but working Fridays will see a hypothetical decrease in holiday entitlements.

Employees working different hours each day will also be impacted depending on whether they do more or less hours on the Monday or Friday. So, employees who work fewer hours on a Friday will most likely favour the change.

You may also have employees who already have events planned for 4 May next year for which they need the time off such as holidays, weddings, etc. Try to be pro-active and identify any potential problems early by ensuring staff are aware of the change. You can then work with those affected to resolve it in the interests of all parties.

Do be aware when making such decisions you should be careful not to show favouritism or discriminate in any way. Be consistent with all requests. 

Bank Holidays legal requirements:

  • employers must provide a minimum of 5.6 weeks of leave per year, which equals 28 days per year for full time employees, inclusive of the eight normal Bank Holidays
  • there is no contractual right to take Bank Holidays off work, as long as the overall holiday entitlement provided still equals no less than the statutory minimum of 28 days per year, or no less than their contractual entitlement
  • part-time employees are entitled to accrue holiday on a pro-rata basis. This means that they should receive an equal amount of holiday to that received by full time employees
  • part-time employees or those working irregular hours must receive a pro-rata entitlement of the Bank Holiday at the correct rate.

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