How does the change to May Day 2020 affect employers?

28 June 2019

The recent announcement that the Spring Bank holiday 2020 would be moved from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May raised concerns from calendar makers and an exceptionally well organised couple due to get married that weekend. However, most people are yet to have registered the change, made to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. 

There are a number of implications for businesses to consider and there also lies an opportunity for organisations to be pro-active and highlight early the impact of the change on their workforce.

Why does the change to May Day 2020 matter?

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 to bank holiday dates in 2020 will affect part-time workers or employees with irregular working patterns in particular 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 notional 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 notional 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. The change will benefit most those working short hours on a Friday.

However, like in the case of the couple aforementioned, the swap may also affect employees who had already planned to be off on 4 May 2020 but who will now be required at work, for instance staff working in schools. 

By taking a pro-active approach, employers can identify potential issues early and engage with relevant individuals to assess the impact and find suitable solutions. Doing this will send the message that the organisation recognises the importance of staff having time off and will signal their commitment to work-life balance as well as help manage staffing effectively and ensure compliance. This could bring significant benefits to employee’s engagement and motivation without requiring much resources. 

A quick legal reminder on bank holidays

  • Employers must provide a minimum of 5.6 weeks of leave per year, which equates to 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 (those who work less than your standard full-time number of hours per week) 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.

If you have any questions about the above, or would like to discuss your employees’ holiday entitlements, please contact Kerri Constable.