How should an employer deal with an employee who refuses to work on a bank holiday?

The action an employer can take will depend on the employee's contract of employment. If the employee does not have the contractual right to time off on bank holidays but refuses to attend work, the employer can treat this as a disciplinary issue. The employer should comply with its own policy for managing disciplinary issues as well as the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.

If the contract provides that the employee is entitled to take bank holidays as annual leave, the employer cannot insist that the employee works and cannot take any form of disciplinary action. The employer could seek the employee's written agreement to work on the bank holiday in return for a day in lieu to be taken at some other time, or it could consider increasing the payment for the day as an incentive.