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The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II – how to manage the bank holiday and support your staff

Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, many businesses are thinking about the best way to operate and to support their staff on the day of the funeral, which is set for Monday 19th September 2022. It is up to businesses to decide if they want to close on the day of the Queen’s funeral and many are closing for the day as a sign of respect. Some are adjusting or delaying their trading hours.

Entitlement for paid leave

As the day of the funeral has been declared a bank holiday, the question has arisen as to whether employees are entitled to this day as paid leave.

That will depend on what is set out in their contract of employment. If it says that they get 28 days plus bank holidays but does not stipulate the usual amount of 8 bank holidays, the employee will get the extra bank holiday as paid leave. However, if the contract says that only 8 bank holidays will be awarded, the employer doesn’t have to grant any extra paid bank holidays, although they can do so if they wish.

Because of the sudden and unexpected nature of this event, some employees may previously have booked 19th September off as annual leave. If this is the case, and:

  • that employee is entitled to bank holidays off work as per their contract, or

  • you are letting employees take 19th September off work as paid leave

then it is probably a good idea to let them cancel that holiday and add it back into their annual holiday entitlement for this year.

Handling childcare

As the date of the funeral has drawn closer, many businesses and other establishments have announced their intention to close for the day. This will likely include many schools and nurseries, and therefore, some employees may find themselves facing childcare issues. For those businesses who do stay open, this is a matter that will need to be dealt with pragmatically.

The employee should be given time off to attend to childcare issues, but whether that is paid time off or not will, again, depend on what it says in their contract of employment or the policy of the company. Whatever position is taken, it needs to be consistent across all groups and protected characteristics to avoid any claims of discrimination.

How can you support staff who are grieving?

To help staff feel supported in this time of national mourning, you may:

  • create a culture where employees’ feelings on this issue are respected and they feel comfortable talking to you

  • offer access to an employee assistance programme

  • consider flexible working patterns. For example, you might allow employees to work from home more in the week leading up to the funeral or the days following it

Employees are usually only entitled to bereavement leave on the death of close relatives. You should check their contract to see if bereavement leave applies, but it is unlikely to do so.

Find out more.

Click here for FAQs about the bank holiday.

For more support, you can contact us on 03300 414 996 or at contactus@rradar.com.

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