The TUC says it has written to Business Secretary, Vince Cable, calling on him to change the law on special bank holidays by making an amendment to the Working Time Regulations.

While too late for the Royal Wedding bank holiday this year, the TUC says the law change would ensure that the same issues do not arise again for the bank holiday to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on 5 June 2012. The call comes after controversy over the Royal Wedding bank holiday on 29 April because of a minority of employers intending to treat the Royal Wedding holiday as just another working day.

A survey carried out by the CIPP earlier this month found that 88% of the employers it surveyed are treating 29 April as a bank holiday. However, union Unite said it was ‘naming and shaming’ NHS trusts who were not paying their staff bank holiday rates on 29 April. A number of employers, including Debenhams, Thomas Armstrong and Interfloor, were also named in The Telegraph this week for treating 29 April as an ordinary working day.

TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, said:
“While most people are likely to get paid leave on 29 April as a result of their employer’s goodwill, a significant minority of tight-fisted companies have decided to ignore the national mood and insist on keeping staff chained to their desks while everyone else is enjoying the bank holiday.

“Not offering paid leave or overtime will rebound on employers as they risk demoralising their workforce and damaging their reputation amongst their customers.
‘We have today asked the Government to raise the minimum standard for paid holidays to ensure workers are legally entitled to receive at least a day off in lieu if they are asked to work on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee holiday next year.

“This would be a popular measure that would help millions more people celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee.”