What does the Mayday bank holiday change mean for employers?

In June 2019 it was announced that the Mayday bank holiday will take place on Friday 8 May 2020, rather than Monday 4 May, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day. But what does this mean from an employment law perspective?

The change meant that approximately 30 million diaries printed the incorrect date, while businesses must now be aware of potential complications with employees’ holiday bookings, as well as ensuring that they plan to ensure that their resources are not stretched on both days.

Where an employee has the right to a bank holiday off work, it is important for a business to account for this and plan ahead to ensure that the correct resources are in place to deal with the change in date.

There could be an issue if an employee has erroneously booked a day off around Monday 4 May, assuming that the usual day for the Mayday bank holiday was being observed this year. As a result, they may have planned a long weekend to incorporate the bank holiday, which may cause issues as their employer will be unaware of their intention to enjoy a prolonged break, and could be problematic if the business hasn’t planned for their absence.

The date of the bank holiday has been changed as a one-off, in order to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, when the Second World War ended in Europe.

It would be prudent for both employers and staff members to review their holiday dates around the week of the bank holiday, noting any planned absences and ensuring that everyone is aware that 4 May 2020 will be a working day, and planning their holiday bookings accordingly.

Hayley Trovato, Senior Associate at OGR Stock Denton, said: “You will need to consider your approach to this carefully and should set it out clearly in a policy.  

“Whatever your organisation’s policy is, ensure that you apply it consistently and ensure that it does not discriminate against anyone. It is also important that it is communicated clearly and in good time leading up to this new bank holiday.”

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