Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that the day of Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton – 29 April 2011, which according to Butler’s “Lives of the Saints” is appropriately the day before the feast of St Catherine – will be a public holiday to mark a “national day of celebration” (see Directgov website, 23 Nov 2010 – pedant’s corner in Private Eye may yet note that the Prime Minister got it right and that the author of the Press Release, which calls it a “bank holiday”, did not).
Also the Scottish Cabinet has confirmed that Scotland will have a public holiday. However the Scottish Cabinet points out that “The wedding day will take place during the Scottish election period, which has implications for the electoral and parliamentary timetable, and we will work through these in close consultation with the Holyrood authorities”. The date of the Scottish Parliament election is May 5th. At present the Scottish Parliament is due to be dissolved on March 23rd but this may be changed to 22nd March as there must be 28 working days between dissolution and an election – and there would only be 27 if 29 April is a public holiday.
The BBC has reported that Guernsey and Gibraltar are both considering similar proposals.
The Directgov website covering Bank Holidays has already been updated to show 29th April 2011 as a public holiday.
Employers and employees should note that there is no statutory right to holiday, with or without pay, on public or bank holidays. However, many workers are entitled either to paid leave or to overtime rates of pay on bank and public holidays either under customary arrangements, which may be implied terms of contract, or under express contract provisions. To avoid misunderstanding it may be prudent for employers to ensure that their staff are aware of their position well in advance.
The choice of 29 April for the wedding will mean that for many people the latter part of April 2011 may be one long break, although all the days off will count towards their annual statutory holiday entitlement. Good Friday is on 22 April, the Easter Monday bank holiday is on 25 April and the first Monday in May is a regular bank holiday. So those who take the three days off from 26 to 28 April will be away from work from Friday 22 April until returning on Tuesday 3 May.