Most small businesses aim to ignore Diamond Jubilee, survey reveals
Monday, 23 April 2012
Nearly two thirds of small businesses are refusing to give staff an extra day's holiday to honour the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this summer, a survey has revealed.
A staggering 62 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) plan to either open as usual or force staff to take the extra day off out of their holiday entitlement, according to the poll by business support specialists, ELAS.
And around three quarters say they are against the Government using additional bank holidays as a way of celebrating national events such as the jubilee and last year's Royal Wedding.
Peter Mooney, ELAS's head of consultancy, said: "This is the second year running that businesses have been asked to foot the bill for a royal celebration.
"While most people don't want to begrudge the Queen wanting to celebrate 60 years on the throne, these are businesses which are in many cases already hard-pressed to make ends meet, and which simply cannot afford another day's lost trade.
"But this is going further than just being unhappy; this suggests that the majority of bosses are either opening their doors as usual or forcing staff to take the day out of their annual leave entitlement so as to mitigate the negative effects of a lost day's trade."
The Government has moved the Whit bank holiday back a week to June 4 and declared a special bank holiday on Tuesday June 5 to create a four-day weekend marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
The results for business include higher wage bills for those that choose to open as usual on the extra bank holiday, and lost productivity and revenue for those that don't.
While most businesses still aim to close or operate on reduced staff for the day of the bank holiday itself, many employers are not bound to give staff the day as paid leave.
Mr Mooney explained: "It all depends on the wording of companies' employment contracts. If contracts state that staff are entitled to, for example, 20 days' paid leave plus bank holidays, then any new bank holiday such as Jubilee Day must be honoured accordingly.
"But more and more employers are amending contracts to state that staff are entitled to a total of 28 days' leave including any bank holidays. As a result, the more bank holidays there are, the fewer days are left for employees to take as and when they choose."
According to Mr Mooney, employers' problems don't end with choosing whether or not to pay staff for the extra bank holiday.
"It's not only the extra day which employers have to deal with, it's the rush of requests they then get for people wanting to take the remaining three days off to create 10 days out of the office for only three days' leave.
"Add to that the demand for time off during the Olympics and businesses face a summer of skeletal staff in addition to the usual six weeks of school holidays they are used to."
For information or advice about dealing with holiday entitlement and absenteeism, call ELAS on 08450 50 40 60.
To arrange an interview with Peter Mooney, or for any further information, email ELAS@onlybeattie.com