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How to manage the UK’s extra Bank Holiday for the coronation of King Charles III

Wednesday, 08 Feb 2023

After the sadness of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing in 2022, the UK is looking forward to a happier event: the coronation of her successor, King Charles III.

King Charles will be crowned at London’s Westminster Abbey on Saturday, 6th May. To mark this occasion, the UK government has added a one-day public holiday on Monday, 8th May.

Most employees feel excited about getting an extra day off. But for business owners, the coronation weekend could cause logistical challenges.

If you’re wondering how to manage this year’s extra bank holiday, we’ve put together an FAQ:

When is the coronation weekend?

The UK will celebrate the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III on 6-8th May 2023. The coronation will take place on Saturday, 6th May, with other events over the weekend. These include a concert on Sunday, 7th May and a public holiday on Monday, 8th May, dubbed the Big Help Out.

Members of the public are encouraged to use the extra time off to volunteer in their local community.

Are businesses expected to close for King Charles’ coronation?

Unlike the Queen’s funeral, businesses are not obliged to close for the coronation. But many companies will shut down to give staff time off to celebrate.

Whether you close depends on your circumstances. For example, the retail and hospitality sectors will likely be busier than usual, so it makes sense for these businesses to stay open. In addition, companies with 24/7 operations, such as security firms, manufacturing plants and care homes, will need to remain open.

Do employees have a right to take bank holidays off work?

Some employees will assume they’re allowed to take time off as Monday 8th May is a national public holiday. But this isn’t the case.

UK workers are not legally entitled to time off on Bank Holidays; it’s dependent on their employment contract. Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, full-time professionals are entitled to at least 5.6 weeks of paid time off each year, which can include bank holidays. The figure is pro-rata for part-time staff.

WhosOff’s annual leave calculator can help you work out staff holiday entitlements.

If your holiday policy grants time off for bank holidays, you must give staff time off on 8th May. If there’s no clause in their contract, then it’s at your discretion.

Even without a bank holiday policy, you may want to give people an extra day off over the coronation weekend. Employees could struggle to meet their commitments - for example, schools will be closed, and some parents won't have access to alternative childcare.

You may also want to give staff time off as a goodwill gesture, especially as Monday is a volunteering day.

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What’s the best way to manage staffing over the bank holiday weekend?

As King Charles’ coronation approaches, there are three ways you can manage staffing:

  1. Shut down your business and give everyone the time off
  2. Keep your business open but give staff the option to take time off
  3. Keep your business open and restrict staff from taking time off

Scenario one is the easiest to manage. Just make sure you communicate plans to your workforce. Some people may not even be aware of the extra bank holiday!

Scenario two is a good compromise if you need to stay open but can scale back to skeleton staffing. There are ways to incentivise staff to work – for example, offering overtime pay or time off in lieu (TOIL). Remember to log staff time off and any overtime accrued in your annual leave planner.

Scenario three applies to businesses that'll be busier than usual during the coronation. If you’re using an online staff holiday system, you can block out the bank holiday to prevent people from booking time off. You may also want to offer staff an extra day’s holiday in 2023 to use at a more convenient time.

Could the extra bank holiday have a wider impact?

An extra day off is disruptive, and there could be further consequences to the coronation weekend. For example, more people may want to book holidays as they can get a whole week off using four days' annual leave.

Staying on top of your holiday calendar can prevent bigger problems. And companies using an employee annual leave tracker will find bank holidays easier to manage.

WhosOff allows businesses to set rules around annual leave bookings. For example, how much notice staff need to give, or who can book the same time off. This prevents understaffing and maintains control of employee holiday bookings at all times.

It’s not too late to organise staff holiday before the coronation weekend. Start your free WhosOff trial today and create your annual leave planner in minutes.

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Posted by Tony Bushell

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