18 April 2011 #Employment
As the Big Day approaches, it seems that some employers are still unsure whether to say "I do".
The results of a survey, reported today, suggest that 1 in 4 employees have still not been told if they will be given the day off next Friday 29 April, to join in the Royal Wedding celebrations. The problem is worse in London, with almost a third of workers still not knowing what their employer`s intentions are.
Subject to individual employment contracts, employers are under no statutory obligation to grant staff the day off, and the extra bank holiday does not increase any entitlement to holiday under the Working Time Regulations. However, with the Royal Wedding now just over one week away, it is surprising that so many employers have still not communicated their intentions to staff.
That said, the concerns of employers about the cost of this extra bank holiday to their business, is understandable. The CBI has estimated that the additional day`s holiday will cost the British economy about £6 billion in lost productivity. Many smaller employers contend that they simply cannot afford to provide employees with an additional paid day off work. This is especially the case given that 29 April will be one of four public holidays in 11 days.
If 29 April is to be a normal working day, employers could see increased levels of sickness absences. Absence policies should be reinforced prior to 29 April to dissuade employees tempted to "pull a sickie". For staff who will be working, employers may want to consider ways to keep those employees engaged. Depending upon the nature of the business, it may be possible, to provide facilities to allow employees to watch part of the royal wedding. It may also be possible to allow extended breaks to coincide with the wedding ceremony.