With the day of the forthcoming funeral of Her Majesty The Queen having been officially allocated as a Bank Holiday, many employers and employees might be left wondering what their entitlements and obligations are.
At MAD-HR, we’ve been taking a look at some of the inevitable questions which may arise for both leaders and staff.
Does the declaration of the funeral day bank holiday mean I am obliged to give all staff the day off?
Not necessarily. It depends very much what your contracts dictate in terms of bank holiday entitlement. For example, your employee contracts may specifically refer to a set number of public holidays, and/or the requirement for staff to take days such as those covering the festive period, as holiday.
What’s important is to clarify the expectation and entitlement to staff as soon as possible.
Bear in mind that over and above any ‘legal obligation’, you may feel it is the appropriate thing to allow staff to take this significant day as an addition to their typical allocation.
One of my employees wants to take the day after the funeral off, to allow them to attend the event in person, and return the following day. I’m a small business and really can’t afford for them to be non-productive for a second consecutive day. How do I manage this conversation?
We have already been made aware of similar scenarios playing out for employers, for example, where staff have wanted to travel to London to pay their respects and have asked for additional time off unpaid.
It would be sensible to have a 121 conversation with the individual and understand where they are coming from and what impact this might have on their current workload.
If it is at all possible for them to do so, perhaps you can request that they take this from their available holiday days. Do also check how their absence will impact other staff, as you won’t want to cause unrest throughout your team.
What if an employee would ordinarily have Monday off, how do they recover that holiday?
This is will be down to the individual’s contract with you, and what is already in place over bank holiday Mondays throughout the year. Ordinarily, that person might be entitled to take their ‘off day’ on an alternative day.
I feel under pressure from my staff to close down until after the funeral. How should I handle that with my team?
We understand how employers can end up feeling pressurised into making significant changes at such a time. It would be far better to communicate with your staff why you have chosen to remain open, what leniency or changes you will implement in the coming days, and at the same time to ensure you reinforce how much you are compassionate and respectful of the way employers might be feeling.
Are there specific ways I might help manage the emotional reaction to the death of The Queen in the workplace? I want to acknowledge the distress of some, but not alienate those who have no interest in discussing it and who feel we should be ‘business as usual’?
This is a great question. While we might assume everyone will be at least a little affected by such news, some will feel no affinity to it at all, or, for whatever reason, feel very angry or hostile toward reference to the mourning process and of the passing of our monarch.
You would be wise to remain observant of the way in which the issue is being discussed in your workplace, while also making it very clear that opportunities for 121 conversations or support are available for those requiring it.
If you have an EAP in place as part of your employee wellbeing initiatives, this would be a good time to reinforce to employees that they can access this facility.
*If you would like the help of MAD-HR with managing difficult circumstances around the period of national mourning, the implementation of the bank holiday, or other matters, please get in touch.
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