Dental teams are being warned not to hang out the bunting nor to plan that royal wedding street party yet.
Although the announcement by Prince William and Kate Middleton of their wedding day was welcomed by many employees as an extra holiday on top of their existing statutory entitlement, dental accountants say this may not necessarily be the case.
Some employers are questioning whther they have to give my employees another holiday on 29 April.
And unfortunately, says Amanda Maskery, a member of the National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants (NASDA) lawyers’ Group, there is no short answer.
She suggests that it is a common misconception that employees are entitled to time off work for bank holidays; employees are simply entitled to the statutory minimum number of holidays; currently 5.6 weeks.
This entitlement includes eight days for public holidays and therefore the basic position is that there is no statutory right to a day off work for a public holiday so long as an employee is receiving his or her statutory minimum holiday entitlement.
There may be some dental staff who are exceptions to this due to their contract.
Where a contract states that an employee is entitled to public holidays in addition to their annual leave, but neither the number nor the specific dates are referred to, they will be entitled to an additional days holiday.
She adds that, conversely, where the contract specifies a total number of days’ holiday, which includes bank holidays or states either the number or specific dates which may be taken, the employee will not be contractually entitled to an additional day’s holiday for the royal wedding.
Amanda says: ‘Of course, there may be an implied right by virtue of the employer previously granting time off on additional public holidays and thereby creating a precedent. Given how often this occurs, the likelihood is small.
‘Some employers may not be obliged to give an additional days’ holiday in April but may choose to do so in any event.’
In addition, the timing of the additional holiday may also provide its own difficulties as, by taking three days’ holiday in addition to the new bank holiday, employees can gain an 11-day holiday.
To avoid problems in April, it would be a wise decision for employers to consider any potential staffing issues now and consult their employee’s contracts of employment together with their holiday policies to ensure business as usual once April comes around.
Amanda Maskery of Sintons LLP can be contacted on 0191 226 7838 or to find a member of NASDA Lawyers’ Group in your area, go to www.nasda.org.uk.