Many salon and spa employees believe they have the automatic right to have bank (public) holidays off.

We’ve four bank holidays coming up in the next two months – Easter and the two separate May holidays. As a salon owner you can start to feel you’re being held to ransom. And it’s sounding expensive.

Can your salon staff insist on bank holidays?

The short answer is no.

Contrary to popular belief there is no statutory legal right to bank holidays. Whether someone is legally entitled to a bank holiday is entirely dependent on the wording of their contract.

The law on time off and public holidays

Annual leave entitlements should be agreed when a new salon employee starts work. Details of their holidays and holiday pay should be clearly stated in their written statement or contract of employment.

The law only requires you to give your salon employees 28 days holiday per annum (for staff working 5 days per week).

This minimum 28 days can include bank holidays but it doesn’t have to. It’s up to you as salon owner to decide when you agree terms with a new team member.

Contractual v statutory entitlement for bank holidays

Many salon contracts give employees “XX number of days’ holiday PLUS bank or public holidays”. If you have these contracts then you are under a contractual obligation to let your employees take all bank holidays as paid leave.

But if your contracts of employment don’t make provision for bank holidays then there is no statutory requirement for you to give paid leave on these days.

#Business Tip: Check each salon employee’s contract very carefully as you may have used different versions over the years or ‘inherited’ employment contracts when you took over the salon. Run them past your lawyer if you’re in any doubt.

Is there a right to be paid double time for working in salon on a bank holiday?

There is no legal right to be paid any extra for working a bank holiday. Again, it depends on the terms of your employment contract.

Plan ahead when it comes to bank holidays

Around bank holidays is always a popular time for holiday requests. So if you want to avoid potential misunderstandings over holiday pay, entitlement to time off and last minute absences you need to plan ahead.

Remember: set the rules out clearly now to your salon team, be fair and consistent and you’ll save yourself some holiday headaches.

For more information on general holiday entitlement visit the gov.uk website, and there is some useful information on US holiday pay here.

Research confirms the impact of holidays on salon motivation

And finally, a word of caution before you insist on enforcing your employment contracts and making the team work.

The Chartered Management Institute recently highlighted a survey which revealed that the promise of more holiday has a greater impact on team motivation than the prospect of a secure job.

Of particular interest to hair and beauty salons was that the 16-24 age group were especially keen to be offered more annual leave. 49% confirmed they would be prepared to work harder in return for more holiday allowance.