The coronation of Charles III and Queen Camilla will take place on Saturday 6th May 2023 at Westminster Abbey. To mark the occasion, the government announced that Monday 8th May would be a national bank holiday in the UK. 
We have been asked by our clients how to handle the additional bank holiday, and for some, that decision to close will be as clear cut as it is on other bank holidays; however, there are many others that haven’t decided whether to close, or that can’t close because of the nature of their business, or they haven’t yet made any arrangements with employees. 
If you fall in the later categories, our advice is this: 
First check your contract of employment. To be clear, any entitlement to bank holidays will be governed by the terms of the contract, as there is no statutory entitlement to have bank holidays off work. If the contract says the employee is entitled ‘to all bank and public holidays’, then the extra day will need to be granted as additional leave. In that instance, an employer cannot insist that employees work on a public holiday, but they can seek their agreement to do so in exchange for a day in lieu at a later date. 
If your contract of employment indicates that employees are entitled to 8 bank holidays, then you have the flexibility to decide if you are going to grant the additional bank holiday or not. 
If nothing exists in writing then those rights may be agreed upon verbally, and you should look at how you have managed any other bank holiday and apply the same rules. 
With the coronation happening on a Saturday, if your business is normally open on a weekend, you may have already seen a flurry of holiday requests for that day. To ensure you are not short-staffed, you should follow your usual rules for holiday requests. 
Having a holiday policy and written rules means your staff know your process for approving and rejecting requests upfront, so they will be less likely to accuse you of being unfair because you follow a consistent process every time. 
If you do choose to keep your businesses open over the coronation long weekend, you could get into the coronation spirit and involve staff in coronation-themed events and activities or opt to screen the coronation so staff can dip in and out over the course of the day. 
Small gestures like that can go a long way to ensuring employees don’t feel they are missing out. 
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