Forced to take time off for bank holiday even though I don’t work that day: ask the expert

I work 5 days a week, full time, but my 2 days off are Thursday and Sunday. Sunday is always closed. For 25, 26 December and 1,2 January they closed. 26 and 2 were Thursdays. After that they told us that those days will be paid and counted as holiday days, so they took 4 days out of my total holiday days. My question is: Is it legal to do that, as my day off is Thursday? Shouldn’t they have given me 2 more days off without pay??? How can my day off be holiday even if it was paid? They took them out of my holiday days, so I actually lost 2 normal days off.

In short – no, your employer cannot do this! You work full time at 5 days per week. If they make the Thursday a holiday, but you have worked 5 days that week, this makes it a 6-day working week so they need to pay you additionally for the extra day or give you a day off in lieu – taking it out of your holiday entitlement doesn’t count!

Often employers struggle with working out the practicalities of bank holiday entitlements so this may be human error/misunderstanding rather than malicious intent on your employer’s part, so I suggest you point out that this is erroneous & see if they rectify it first – but if they don’t, you can legitimately fight for your legal entitlement!

Comments [2]

  • Jonathan says:

    My wife is just about to go back on flexible working (after appealing the managers initial decision successfully) in a retail store – large national plc (16 hours per week over 2 days). They have told her she gets the pro rata equivalent of 5.6 weeks off so about 90 hours but that she has to take Boxing day and Easter Sunday as part of that holiday entitlement even though she wouldn’t have been due to work those days and the store is closed. Obviously if part of this ‘increases’ her working hours in those weeks – I assume given the comments above that they couldn’t do that? The reason they have given is that all staff have to take this as a day whether or not they should be working and she cant be any different!

  • Anonymous says:

    thank you very much for you time to answer me. I did ask them very nicely and they went crazy, so it's past the error/misunderstanding part… they said I should be happy I have a job when others are looking for work… the thing is that I felt very ill the last months and each time I said the doctor told me to get some days off their answer was "we are too busy for that" or "yeah you should but there's no way you can do that now", "now" being for the last 4 months… and that is why I got so angry when they took even my normal days off.

    Editor: No matter what they say and how angry they get you have legal entitlements and they should not flout these or bully you into not having time off, especially if it is affecting your health. 

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