Employers that force staff to work on April 2011’s extra bank holiday will create “huge resentment” among their workforce, the TUC has warned.
Warning: there will also be an additional bank holiday in 2012
In 2012 there will be an extra bank holiday to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The extra day off to celebrate the royal wedding – sandwiched between the Easter weekend and the May Day bank holiday – means that many workers will only work three days between 22 April and 2 May 2011.
This has led to many employers, especially smaller businesses, questioning whether or not they actually have to allow employees the day off.
However, the TUC has warned that, although the right to paid leave depends on individual contracts, most workers will be given the public holiday and those forced to work may hold it against their employers.
A TUC spokesman said: “Miserly employers who think they can save a few pennies by forcing staff to work will find this counterproductive as it will generate huge resentment on a day when most workers will be celebrating around the country rather than being stuck at their desks.”
He added that some people will have to work on the bank holiday to keep essential services going but employers should ensure that these workers are compensated.
With the working week following the 2011 Easter weekend being only three days long, it is likely that many employees will take the time off on leave, or even take it off sick, extending their break to 11 days.
A spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses told the Telegraph: “There will be a real temptation for workers not to bother going in to work [during the week of the royal wedding]. It will be a three-day week and it could see many businesses just shut down.”
Guy Lamb, partner at law firm DLA Piper, said that employers can reinforce their absence policies over this period to dissuade staff from taking time off if they are not really sick.
“It’s okay to say we will require some evidence if you’re ill in the form of a doctor’s note or otherwise, ” Lamb commented. “What I don’t think you can do is start saying things like ‘if you’re absent on that week you’re not going to get paid’, but you can do a lot to sway employees and really put the onus on them.”
Under statutory sick pay rules, a medical certificate is not normally required for a period of illness of less than seven days.