Where an employee's period of paternity leave coincides with a bank holiday, is the employer under any obligation to provide a compensatory day off or pay in lieu?
The employee's entitlement will depend first on whether or not the bank holiday forms part of his or her statutory holiday entitlement under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833). Under the Regulations all workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks' paid holiday in any leave year. Where an employer grants employees the minimum holiday entitlement under the Regulations (ie 5.6 weeks inclusive of bank or public holidays), a bank holiday that occurs during the employee's period of paternity leave will form part of the employee's statutory holiday entitlement. This means that a day off in lieu would have to be granted.
However, if the employer grants paid time off on bank holidays, in addition to the statutory minimum, then the employee's potential right to a compensatory day off or pay in lieu in respect of a bank holiday will depend on the terms of the contract of employment or any policy on the matter that forms part of the contract. It may also be that a right to time off or pay in lieu for bank holidays exists impliedly as a result of custom and practice, even if it is not written down in any company documentation.
It is worth noting that, contrary to popular belief, there is no law that requires employers to grant employees paid leave on any public or bank holiday, even though many do so in practice.