The Right to Bank Holidays and Time off For Religious Festivals

There is no statutory right to public or bank holidays so contract wording in this area can differ and employers may choose not to state the number of bank holidays, this is because there are times when bank/public holidays can fall early or late.

As discussed previously, this will mainly affect companies who operate an April 01 to March 31 holiday year; in certain cases it can mean that employees may have a difference in the number bank holiday days on a certain year and less/more in the next. This is can also be the case if there are additional bank holidays to mark special occasions such as Royal Celebrations. Contractual wording will dictate if an employee is entitled to the additional day. In these cases employers should consider the impact of not granting additional bank holidays and the negative impact this could have on their teams.

As with bank/public holidays there is also no requirement at this stage for employers to allow time off for specific religious observance however, The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate on grounds of religious belief. Employers should adopt a supportive approach and could perhaps consider establishing a policy on how to deal with such requests; this should consider such options as employees using holiday leave or planned unpaid leave to accommodate their requests.

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