Guidance for Bectu members during period of national mourning and State Funeral

14 September 2022

During the UK’s period of mourning following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Bectu members have contacted the union requesting advice on how this will affect workers and entertainment venues during this period.

We have also been asked about how people in all sectors of the entertainment industries on self-employed or short-term/casual PAYE working will be treated in the event of work being cancelled at short notice during this period.

According to government guidance issued on 9 September 2022,

“There is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the National Mourning period. This is at the discretion of individual organisations.

“As a mark of respect, organisations might wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the State Funeral. They are under no obligation to do so and this is entirely at the discretion of individual organisations.”

It is Bectu’s view that any cancelled work for Bectu members during this period will be as the result of a decision by employers, and, as such, may not be done so under any ‘force majeure’ provisions.

All contracts of work should be honoured unless there is a mutual agreement to do something different.

Payments and time off work during a Bank Holiday

It has been confirmed that the day of the State Funeral – Monday 19 September 2022 – will be designated as a bank holiday.  Members should first and foremost check their contracts, as the right to an extra day’s paid leave for this holiday depends on what is outlined in the holiday clause of their contract.

This may mean that workers can expect it to be treated as a paid rest day, and in some cases, when such a public holiday is worked, workers can expect to be offered a ‘day off in lieu’ and/or to be paid at a premium rate of pay as they would be on any other public holiday.

Members with questions can contact their Branch Representatives or the Industrial Officials who support them, or the Bectu switchboard (details below).

Holiday pay for workers on non-permanent contracts

Workers on short term, ‘freelance’ or ‘casual’ contracts all have an entitlement to paid holidays that starts to accrue on their first day of employment, as Bectu established this in legal action against the UK government in 2001.

Due to recent changes in government advice on how holidays are calculated, the standard UK Government calculator for assessing holiday pay works on the assumption that workers will be paid for 28 days holiday a year, a figure that includes the usual eight days of public holiday that apply in most years. These workers will normally expect to be paid for any untaken holidays at the end of a contract of employment.

Many workers on permanent contracts expect Bank Holidays to be paid or subject to other special terms and conditions. In order to treat freelance workers fairly in relation to those colleagues on permanent contracts, Bectu urges all employers to treat the public holiday granted for the State Funeral like any other public holiday but without deducting a day of holiday pay at the end of the contract of employment to cover this.

Members who are self-employed who have had anticipated work cancelled or postponed during this period can contact their Branch Representatives or Bectu Industrial Officials.

If you are unsure who your Branch Representative or Official is, please email [email protected]  or call the main switchboard on 0300 600 1878, and your query will be redirected.

SOLT/UKT agreements

For members working under the Society of London Theatres/UK Theatres agreements, the below arrangements will apply.

No performance scheduled

  • If Monday 19 September is not a normal scheduled performance day, no action is necessary and no additional payments are due. Annual holiday entitlement is not affected, and no additional holiday entitlement is accrued.

Performances proceeding

  • If the scheduled performance for Monday 19 September goes ahead, bank holiday premium payments are payable as set out in the respective collective agreements. Annual holiday entitlement is not affected and no additional holiday entitlement is accrued.

Cancellation of a scheduled performance

  • If the scheduled performance for Monday 19 September is cancelled, all normal contractual provisions regarding notice of cancellation and any payment will apply. Annual holiday entitlement is not affected and no additional holiday entitlement is accrued. Some employers have chosen to pay for all scheduled calls.

Members working under these agreements can contact [email protected] for advice.