What is the legal position in the UK on giving an extra day off work for the King’s coronation?

Posted Tuesday 2nd May 2023

With the impending King’s coronation, many employers and employees are wondering whether employees are automatically entitled to an extra day off work to mark this occasion.

In short, no. The UK does not have a statutory or legal requirement for employers to give their employees a day off work for a coronation. While it is customary for there to be a public holiday on the day of a coronation, the UK government has the power (and discretion) to declare a public holiday for special occasions, including royal events.

The last coronation in the UK was that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and on that day, it was declared a public holiday, and many businesses and offices were closed. It is however worth noting that this was not a legal requirement, but rather a tradition, which the UK government has decided to honour for the King’s coronation on 6 May 2023 by declaring 8 May 2023 an official bank holiday.

In the absence of a legal requirement for an extra day off for a coronation, whether or not employees are entitled to take the day off will depend on the terms of their employment contract. Some employment contracts state that the employee’s entitlement to annual leave will be ‘X’ days per annum plus public holidays in England and Wales. In these circumstances, the employee would be entitled to the extra public holiday. If, however, the wording in the contract of employment stated that the entitlement was ‘X’ days per annum together with a specific number of public holidays in each year, e.g., 8 public holidays in England and Wales, this would not provide the employee with a contractual right to the extra holiday for the King’s coronation. In these circumstances, it is up to the employer to decide whether or not to grant additional leave for a special occasion such as a coronation. Employers may choose to grant an extra day off to their employees for a coronation, either as a gesture of goodwill or as part of their overall employment package. This is however entirely at the discretion of the employer, and they are under no legal obligation to do so.

This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.

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