Major retailers including Sainsbury’s, John Lewis Partnership and Primark have announced they will be closed on Monday 19 September as a sign of respect on the day of the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
Although the government has said the day will operate in the same way as a national bank holiday, with no statutory entitlement to time off work, many retailers and other organisations that would normally remain open on bank holidays have taken the decision to close to give staff time off.
The majority of Sainsbury’s and Argos stores will be closed, with all online deliveries halted. Sainsbury’s convenience stores and petrol filling stations will be open from 5pm to 10pm, while select stores in central London will open to serve people gathering for the funeral.
Sainsbury’s and Argos staff will be granted additional paid leave to cover the bank holiday.
Bank holiday for the Queen’s funeral
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II. In honour of Her Majesty and so our colleagues can pay their respects, all Sainsbury’s supermarkets and Argos stores will be closed on Monday 19 September.”
All John Lewis and Waitrose stores will be closed, other than a small number of Waitrose stores along the procession route, with the company’s chief operating officer stating that it was “the right thing to do” for staff and customers.
A spokesperson said it would do its best to ensure that any John Lewis or Waitrose employee who wanted to watch the funeral could do so.
Larger Tesco supermarkets will be closed all day, but Tesco Express shops will open at 5pm.
Aldi, Asda, Morrisons, Primark, Ikea, Homebase, B&Q and WH Smith have also said they would allow staff to pay their respects to the Queen by closing their stores.
Non-retail organisations including Royal Mail, Odeon, Center Parcs, GP surgeries, and leisure centre and libraries operator Better will also pause operations on 19 September.
HR advice service Peninsula said its app received more than 10,000 questions from employers seeking to understand how they should manage the additional bank holiday.
HR advice and consultancy director Kate Palmer said: “This is an historic event, and one that most of us have not experienced before in our lifetime. Businesses are wanting to get things right.
“Regardless of whether a business will close or not on the day of the funeral, it’s important that they handle the situation with care. Many people have been deeply saddened by the Queen’s death so employers need to consider what they can do to help their employees, acknowledge their rights, and pay respect to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”
Organisations should check their employment contracts to determine whether staff have a contractual right to time off.