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Oh hello, Bank Holiday weekend

Oh hello, Bank Holiday weekend

It's almost time for the Bank Holiday weekend, it's so close in fact we can almost see it! It's an eagerly awaited event, and let's face it, who doesn't like a bit of extra rest?

But in reality, there are eight permanent bank holidays per year in the UK. And for employers, it's one of the busiest times of the year. If bank holiday admin – managing holiday requests, calculating annual leave and working out holiday pay – is giving you the bank holiday blues, here are four surprising things you should know:

1. There's no legal entitlement to bank holidays off

You don't actually have to grant employees bank holidays or public holidays as paid leave. There's no legal precedent that says these days must be paid. As an employer, it's entirely up to you whether you choose to offer bank holidays as paid leave. Whatever you choose, your employees' entitlement to paid leave should always be outlined in an employment contract.

2.You don't have to pay extra if people work on bank holidays

It's a common myth that if a person works on a bank holiday, they will get time-and-a-half or even double time. This is actually untrue. There's no statutory right to pay employees extra if they work bank or public holidays. Once again, if there are any occasions where an employee would be entitled to extra pay, it would have to be clearly outlined in a contract of employment.

3. Watch out for ‘statutory entitlement plus bank holidays' wording

Back in 2009, the statutory minimum leave allowance increased to 5.6 weeks from four. A full-time employee's entitlement is 28 statutory days per year. There are eight bank holidays in England and Wales, nine in Scotland and a whopping 10 in Northern Ireland. It's essential that the wording in your contracts of employment is clear as to whether you include bank holidays within that 28-day allowance – or if you offer them in addition.

4. Treat part-time or shift-working employees fairly

When someone works for you on a part-time or shift basis, it's important you make sure they're not treated unfairly when it comes to their bank holiday entitlement. In fact, the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations, introduced in 2000, stated that part-time staff are entitled to the same terms as full-time workers, but on a pro-rata basis.

The best way to work out annual leave entitlement for your part-time and shift working employees is to give them a prorated allowance.

Even if someone doesn't typically work on the days that bank holidays fall, it's best practice to work it this way.

Beat the bank holiday blues

If the wheels are spinning just trying to wrap your head around complicated annual leave adjustments – or you just need a helping hand in getting your HR in order – the team here at EL Direct can help.

EL Direct

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I don't have Microsoft Office or Microsoft Word, what should I do?

If you don't have Microsoft Office, or Microsoft Word installed on your PC or Mac, don't worry - you can still use our products. You can get a free alternative from Open Office.

Open Office Org is open-source developed alternative to Microsoft Office, developed by a large software company called Oracle. Open Source means the company who build the software, allow 100% use of it, 100% free.

Since Open Office is specifically developed to be exactly the same as Microsoft Office, with all the same programs in the suite (Eg: Word, Excel, Access and Power Point) - it will freely open any Microsoft Office file-format. Meaning, just because a document was written in Microsoft Word, doesn't mean it can't be opened in another program. Open Office will do that, and vise versa.

To download and install Open Office;

  1. Go to
  2. On the left hand side, click 'I want to download Open Office'. In the green box, click the main link which starts with 'Start downloading'
    • Windows Only:When the program has downloaded, click Install and wait for the program to install.
    • MAC OSX Only:When the program has downloaded, a notification box will pop up with an arrow from the Open Office Icon to the Applications Folder in Finder, drag the icon to the Applications folder to install the program.
  3. You are now ready to use Open Office, and the documents you have purchased from us.