Can your boss force you to work the August Bank Holiday?

Millions of people will be counting down to a much-deserved extended weekend when the Bank Holiday Monday arrives.

21st August 2019

With good weather expected for the bank holiday, it'll mean lie-ins, barbecues and brunches for many. But spare a thought for the restaurant, pub, taxi and NHS workers that will be setting their alarms for gruelling shifts come Sunday night.

Can you refuse to work? DAS Law’s Hannah Parsons outlines your rights.

Check your employment contract

Whether or not you have to work the Bank Holiday will depend on your contract of employment. That is usually a written document, but it doesn’t have to be. The terms can also be found in what is implied through custom and practice.. 

Some employers close down on Bank Holidays and your contract will entitle you to take those days in addition to, or as part of, your annual leave entitlement in which case you would not be required to work.

However, if Monday 26 August falls on one of your normal working days, and your employer opens for business on public holidays and expects you to work, then you are likely to be contractually obliged to work unless you have been granted annual leave.

In short, if your contract states it’s business as usual and compulsory, you’ll be expected to work. However, if the office is closed, you won’t be obliged to go in unless you’ve agreed otherwise. This may or may not involve your holiday allowance.

What about taking it as holiday?

If you are scheduled to work, you are able to request using annual leave on a Bank Holiday just like any other day. However, it will be at the discretion of the employer as to whether the request is granted.

Generally, as long as an employer doesn’t curtail an employees’ right to take annual leave, employers may decline requests for annual leave and will usually rely on business reasons for doing so.

Disclaimer: This information is for general guidance regarding rights and responsibilities and is not formal legal advice as no lawyer-client relationship has been created. Note that the information was accurate at the time of publication but laws may have since changed.

Summer holiday clubs: your rights explained

What can you do if a plan to send your child to a summer holiday club goes awry due to sickness or cancellation? DAS Law investigates.

July 2019 Learn more
Holiday entitlement and pay

Wondering how much time off work you should get? Learn all about annual leave entitlement, bank holidays and other topics relating to time off and your legal right to holidays.

April 2018 Learn more

Read more from the DAS Law blog

Employment disputes , Growing your business , Protecting your business , Setting up a business Farming tenancies: what you need to know

Mark Woodman, Solicitor at DAS Law, looks at what farmers need to know regarding a Farm Business Tenancy.

August 2020
Employment disputes Employing farm workers: what you need to know

Finding employees who will be a long-term asset for your business can be an arduous and stressful process. Here are the myriad rules and regulations that you need to be aware of from the outset.

August 2020
Employment disputes , Protecting your business What businesses need to do when coming out of Covid-19 lockdown

The government recently announced the easing of lockdown restrictions for many businesses across the country. Nevertheless, health & safety and social distancing measures still apply.

July 2020
Employment disputes , Protecting your business 6 tips for giving your business a “spring clean”

As we slowly exit lockdown, this is the ideal opportunity to spend some time giving your business a ‘spring clean’. Hayley Marles has six tips for a clean and tidy SME.

July 2020
Employment disputes Can employees refuse to return to work if they feel unsafe?

Can an employee refuse to return to work due to fears of contracting Covid-19? Where does the law stand if employees decide to ‘take a stand’?

July 2020
Employment disputes Flexible furlough: what you need to know

Employers are left trying to understand how the recently ‘flexible’ CJRS can be used as we come out of lockdown and more businesses reopen and bring back their workforces.

June 2020
Employment disputes Redundancy: an employer’s guide

Hayley Marles and Simon Roberts – both Senior Associates at DAS Law – look at what an employer needs to know about redundancy.

June 2020
Employment disputes Redundancy: an employee’s guide

Hayley Marles and Simon Roberts – both Senior Associates at DAS Law – look at what an employee needs to know about redundancy.

June 2020
Employment disputes , Protecting your business The return to work: a guide for employers

Lucy Kenyon looks at what employers need to consider when returning employees to work.

May 2020
Employment disputes The Job Retention Scheme: have you got it right?

DAS Law Associate Carly Owen looks at the latest developments regarding the government’s Job Retention Scheme.

May 2020
Employment disputes , Protecting your business Health and safety and computers

Employers need to manage the risks to their employees of working at computers for long periods of time. DAS Law’s Bethan Mack explains.

May 2020
Employment disputes ‘Self-isolation’ – what it means and its possible impact on your rights and pay

More and more people in the UK are being told to self-isolate to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus. What impact will this have on workers’ rights and pay?

February 2020
Employment disputes Do employees get extra pay on a leap year day?

Every four years, many workers find themselves cramming an extra day of work into an already packed year. But are workers in the UK entitled to extra pay for this extra work?

February 2020