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Liberation Day 2015 - Clarification of the situation for employees and employers

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Tuesday 03 February 2015

Last week, the States debated and voted against a requête to change bank holiday arrangements in the days surrounding 9th May, Liberation Day. Following this, some enquiries have been received seeking clarification of the arrangements that will apply this year.

The situation is that Saturday 9 May 2015 remains designated as a public holiday as a result of the provisions of the Public Holiday's Ordinance.  As the law is drafted, 9 May is always designated as a public holiday whatever day of the week it falls on.

It is important to be aware that the designation of a particular day as a public holiday does not provide a statutory right for employees to have paid leave on public holidays (or enhanced pay if they do work), the cost to employers will depend on the contractual arrangements each business has with its employees.

Anyone who is unclear about the situation and how it might affect them should firstly check the wording of the statement of terms and conditions of employment provided to them by their employer.  Employers are legally obliged to have provided such a document, often called a "contract" or a "contract of employment", to their staff within 4 weeks of the employee commencing work.

Some contracts provide for staff to have an additional day's leave when a public holiday falls at the weekend.  Other contracts may make no mention of this and so it may be something for discussion between employer and employee.

Should employees wish to discuss this further with their employer, it should be borne in mind that there is no obligation on an employer to provide leave, leave in lieu, or enhanced pay in respect of work on public holidays unless this is set out in the agreed "written statement of terms and conditions" or "contract of employment".

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