Is an employee who is required to work on bank holidays entitled to extra pay?

There is no statutory right to extra pay, for example time and a half or double time, when an employee works on a bank holiday. Any right to extra pay depends on the terms of the employee's contract of employment.

Under s.1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, employers must give new employees a written statement of terms and conditions of employment. Under s.1(4)(d)(i) of the Act, the statement must contain terms relating to holiday entitlement, including bank holidays, and holiday pay. Employers should stipulate the rate of pay for working on a bank holiday. There is no right for employees to be paid a higher rate than normal for working on a bank holiday, unless this is provided for in the contract.

In the absence of a written statement, or written contract of employment, an employee's rights relating to bank holidays depend either on what has been verbally agreed or on custom and practice. For example, if employees have been paid an enhanced rate for working bank holidays in the past, it is likely that this will have become a contractual entitlement. Any unilateral changes could constitute a fundamental breach of contract, enabling the employees to resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal if they have been employed for at least two years. Any employees who do not meet the qualifying service requirement can claim breach of contract, as there is no service requirement for such a claim.