CIPD: Spread out Bank Holidays, Increase Staff Attendance
Government proposals to move the May Day bank holiday to October could help reduce staff stress and boost attendance, HR experts have said.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport policy paper also suggested that the May Day holiday could be moved to create a “national day” on St George’s Day on 23 April in England and St David’s Day on 1 March in Wales. Tourism minister John Penrose said the move would encourage local tourism – See the Government Tourism Policy (PDF).
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) adviser, Angela Baron, said that breaking up the four-month gap between the August and December bank holidays could be beneficial for staff morale:
“It seems logical to have the bank holidays spread out across the year. If having a bank holiday in October stops employees getting stressed then it might have a positive effect on attendance.”
However, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary, Brendan Barber, said that moving an existing holiday would cause problems for businesses.
“Messing around with established bank holidays will disrupt people’s schedules and create more red tape for employers,”
said Brendan Barber, whilst Angela Baron added:
“The proposal says that moving the bank holiday to October will extend the tourist season, but the obstacles of school terms and bad weather will still be there.”
Instead the TUC called for an increase in the UK’s eight public holidays to bring them in line with the rest of Europe — for example, Austria’s 13 and Spain’s 14.
However, Baron said an extra bank holiday was not the answer.
“It’s about motivating employees by giving them flexible and timely holidays when needed.”
Director of small business Unreal, Liz Hawthorne, said that moving the May Day holiday to October would be less disruptive for small–business owners than creating an extra bank holiday each year.
“Spring is the start of our busiest season and by October things are starting to settle down. You can definitely see a dip in staff enthusiasm and it’s quite a long haul to from August until Christmas.”
“I think we could do with fewer bank holidays. From an employer’s point of view, another day where my business is closed is another day’s lost revenue. I still have to pay my employees and it doesn’t earn me any money — the unions don’t think about that.”