April 28, 2011 - Anonymous

Firms must offer paid leave on special bank holidays, says TUC

Employers should do “the right thing” and offer staff paid leave on special bank holidays such as the Royal Wedding or risk damaging morale, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has said.

“Not offering paid leave or overtime will rebound on employers as they risk demoralising their workforce and damaging their reputation among their customers,” said TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber.

“While most people are likely to get paid leave on 29 April as a result of their employer’s goodwill, a significant minority of tight-fisted companies have decided to ignore the national mood and insist on keeping staff chained to their desks while everyone else is enjoying the bank holiday,” he added.

By law, employers do not have to give employees paid time off for bank and public holidays. If an employment contract states staff are entitled to 28 days holiday per year, the legal minimum, there is no obligation to give staff extra time off for the Royal Wedding or the Queen’s diamond jubilee next year.

The TUC has called on the Government to introduce a legal entitlement allowing staff a day off in lieu if they are asked to work on special bank holidays - such as Queen’s diamond jubilee on 5 June 2012.

A Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development spokeswoman said that in the spirit of things employers should give people the day off if they can. “But there will be reasons why some firms can’t just close down for the day, in which case they should allow staff to take the day off on a first-come-first-served basis,” she said.

Federation of Small Businesses spokesman, Andrew Cave, said special bank holidays were an extra cost for small firms at a time when they are already struggling.

“We have heard about small manufacturing companies having to shut down operations for the best part of the week which is a nightmare for planning purposes,” he said.