The UK government recently announced an additional employer-paid public holiday on Monday, 19 September 2022, for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.

Key details

The new holiday marks the last day of the period of national mourning for the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and allows all individuals and corporations to pay their respects and commemorate her reign. The new holiday applies to both public and private sector employees in the U.K. for the year 2022.

Since there is no general legal right to take time off on an additionally granted bank holiday, employees’ rights to take this additional public holiday will depend on their employment contracts’ wording. Generally, unless a contract grants employees a right to all bank holidays, rather than a specific number, the employee will not have a right to the additional holiday. If employees do not have a contractual right to take time off during public holidays, employers will then decide at their own discretion whether to grant this one-off additional public holiday or not. Nevertheless, the announcement encourages employers to be sensitive to employees’ requests to take time off during this mourning period.

When deciding whether to grant their employees a day off during this additional one-off public holiday, employers should consider that schools will be closed which means that most working parents may not be able to secure child care for that day. In addition, employers who decide not to allow their employees to take time off that day may face negative press attention.