As the nation welcomes the royal baby into the world, speculation is rising about whether the christening will be marked with a public holiday.
Employment expert ELAS has warned that both employers and employees will have to be quick to factor in the ramifications of a potential day off.
Some employment contracts stipulate that an employee is entitled to a statutory 5.6 weeks leave per year, which includes all pre-determined bank holidays, so if the additional day goes ahead, employers would not be obliged to cover the costs.
However, other contracts will state that an employee is allowed a given number of days off each year plus bank holidays, meaning employers would have to foot the bill in these instances.
Pam Rogerson, HR director at ELAS, says: “The pressure is mounting for a feel-good factor holiday, but it’s the British workforce who will pay for the privilege.
“The British economy could be hit by up to £1.5bn for this additional holiday due to a loss in productivity, as businesses shut down operations for an extra day this year.
“If the Government does grant an extra holiday, to mark the baby’s christening for example, then employers can prepare for it by taking the time to carefully communicate the effects that this holiday will have on their staff.
“They must make it clear whether or not employees will lose a holiday day from their current entitlement and indeed whether the business will close on that day.”
Employers should also note that if no day off is granted, there could be a rise in unauthorised staff absences as people stay at home to celebrate the wetting of the baby’s head.
To help businesses prepare for this potential outcome, ELAS has put together a checklist for employers:
1. It is essential that businesses are clear with staff about the rules for having time off. Requests for annual leave should be decided on a first come, first served basis. Be sure to make staff aware of minimum notice periods for annual leave requests.
2. Consider looking at flexible working options. Allowing staff to work from home, or to work different hours, will help meet usual levels of productivity while staff are able to escape traffic jams or catch coverage of the event.
3. Reiterate your stance on absenteeism. Staff who are turned down for time off often have a knack of being ill when the requested day arrives. Make sure that staff members know the consequences of falsely taking sick leave.