The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has caused deep grief across the country. Many businesses are thinking about the best way to operate and support staff on the day of the funeral, which is set for Monday 19th September 2022.
Here we answer some common questions businesses may have.
Do we have to close on the day of the funeral?
No. It is up to businesses to decide if they want to close on the day of the Queen’s funeral. Many businesses are closing for the day as a sign of respect. Some large retailers are delaying opening until 5pm.
Do we have to give staff the day off?
The funeral of the Queen has been declared a bank holiday. Whether or not an employee is entitled to this extrabank holiday as paid leave will depend on what their contract says.
For example, if their contract says the employee gets 28 days plus bank holidays but does not stipulate the usual amount of 8 bank holidays, the employee will get the extra bank holiday as paid leave.
However, should the contract state that 8 bank holidays will be awarded only, there would be no obligation on the employer to grant any extra bank holidays, although they can choose to.
What if an employee has booked the day off as holiday?
If an employee has booked 19th September off as annual leave and:
- that employee is entitled to bank holidays off work as per their contract, or
- you are choosing to allow employees to take the 19 September off work as paid leave
It’s best practice to allow that employee to cancel their holiday and add that day back to their holiday entitlement.
What if an employee has childcare issues?
Schools and childcare providers may close on the day of the funeral even if your business remains open and employees are working.
Some employees may need time off to care for their children. If so, you should give the employee that time off.
Whether they are paid for that time off will depend on what their contract says or what your company policy is. You should make sure you take a consistent approach with all employees on this issue to avoid claims of discrimination.
How can I support staff who are grieving?
To help staff feel supported in this time of national mourning, you may:
- create a culture where employees’ feelings on this issue are respected and they feel comfortable talking to you
- offer access to an employee assistance programme
- consider flexible working patterns. For example, you might allow employees to work from home more in the week leading up to the funeral or the days following it
Employees are usually only entitled to bereavement leave on the death of close relatives. You should check their contract to see if bereavement leave applies, but it is unlikley to do so.
This post was written by our legal partner rradar. If you need further assistance and individual guidance, please contact our helpline on 01565 626001.