Death of Her Majesty the Queen: advice for the bank holiday for her funeral

by | Sep 14, 2022 | Blog

Last week the nation received the news that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had died.

We would firstly like to take this opportunity to express our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family.

After 70 years of loyal service to the UK and the Commonwealth, the nation is in mourning for our dedicated and faithful figurehead. Earlier this week it was announced that the State Funeral will take place on Monday 19th September, and a national bank holiday has been declared. This is to allow time for us all to pay our respects to Her Majesty and commemorate her reign.

What does this mean for your business?

The bank holiday will operate in the same way that other bank holidays operate in the UK.  It is the employer’s discretion whether they close their business for the day or give employees time off.

There is no statutory entitlement to time off for bank holidays, but you should refer to employee contracts to determine whether you are obliged to pay them for the additional day off.

For example, if your contracts state 20 days annual leave, plus bank holidays, you will be expected to pay for this additional time off.

If your contracts detail the number of bank holidays, however, you will not be obliged to pay for the extra holiday. Instead, if you decide to close your business, employees could take the day from their annual leave entitlement or take a day off unpaid if you are not able to pay them as a gesture of goodwill.

Our advice would be to think carefully about how you handle payment for this additional bank holiday.

Should you close your business?

Your employees may all have different thoughts and feelings on the passing of the Queen. Some may be more affected than others, so it’s important that you take this into account when deciding whether your business will close on the 19th September.

We would encourage you to participate in the day if you can.  While there will be a cost to your business to close for a day, failing to do so will also come at a cost, and that may be greater if you experience a negative reaction from your valued employees.  

Supporting your employees

Your team may react differently to the loss of our Queen, and as an employer it’s important you remember that no reaction is a wrong reaction.

If you feel that any employee needs additional support at this time, you may be able to refer them to the helpline attached to your Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) if you have one. If not, direct your employee to many of the fantastic organisations who offer bereavement support.

This is a historical moment that may have a big impact on your people, so it’s important that your business handles it with the care and sensitivity it deserves.

If you feel you need more support or advice on how your business deals with the period of national mourning, or anything else, please get in touch.