HR BLOG: Should we have an extra bank holiday?

As we head towards the Easter weekend, most of us will be really looking forward to the bank holiday bonanza and surfeit of chocolate, Easter biscuits and hot cross buns that goes with it.

For those still plugging away at work it means a quicker commute. For those taking holiday it means no commute at all! The return to work post-bank holiday won’t be gloomy at all – very soon we have (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) May Day and then the Spring Bank holiday to look forward to! But then what?

How does the UK rank for bank holidays?

In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland there’s a long wait for the August Bank Holiday, and even longer until Christmas. England and Wales have eight bank holidays, Scotland nine and Northern Ireland ten. But those pale into insignificance compared to Italy’s 16. Only Mexico has fewer with a measly seven.

Are you a fan of a bank holiday? You were born too late. Back in the day, the Bank of England observed some 33 saints’ days as bank holidays. That was until some killjoy in 1834 cut them to just four.

In Scotland you have St Andrews Day. Whilst technically it’s a bank holiday, employers aren’t required by any means to grant their staff leave. Your employment contracts should reflect your stance on this.

Cries for more bank holidays are ever present. These cries sometimes make it all the way to the House of Commons and local Parliaments across the UK. In England for instance, an MP introduced a bill to Westminster Parliament calling for an extra bank holiday in 2017 to mark the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee.

What do you think?

We want to know what you think. Would you or your business benefit from an extra day off?

The arguments for bank holidays are fairly obvious. We’re the generation that doesn’t switch off: an extra day to break out of the workplace is a huge boost to employee welfare. And from a business perspective, if you operate in the tourism industry, bank holidays can be a vital cash injection!

On the other side of the fence are businesses concerned with the rising costs of employing people. Businesses either lose a day, or have to pay employees more to work over bank holidays, damaging profit margins.

Comment and let us know which camp you’re in. 

If one day we are granted an extra day, let’s choose one at the end of October/start of November. That’d break up those cold autumn days nicely!

Alison Schreiber runs The HR Dept Durham and Darlington franchise, and works with a number of businesses across PBP. For more info, visit HR Dept Durham and Darlington or call Alison on 01325 526036 or 07535 853226.