As the extra bank holiday to celebrate the Royal nuptials looms on April 29, the union Unite has named 115 NHS trusts – around a quarter of the total in England and Wales – who have adopted a policy of not paying enhanced rates on the day.
As the additional festival is not a statutory bank holiday, employers are free to pay normal rates for staff working on April 29, and to make them take a day’s annual leave if they wish to have the day off.
Many private sector firms are taking this attitude, including retailer Debenhams and haulage firm The Malcolm Group, both of which were highlighted in the press at the weekend. However, there is particular scrutiny on NHS trusts because a national deal – which would have given staff a day off in lieu for working on April 29 but no extra pay – was rejected by unions, meaning that NHS staff will not be treated consistently across the country.
Unite national officer Rachael Maskell said: “NHS staff will be saving lives, looking after the sick and prepared for emergencies while most of Britain will be taking a well-earned break or celebrating the royal wedding.
“Despite the dedication and the huge pressure on NHS staff, a significant number of NHS trusts are stubbornly refusing to pay bank holiday rates for working during the royal wedding.
“The government has given the country an extra day’s bank holiday to mark the royal wedding but NHS trust chief executives on six figure salaries are refusing to recognise the spirit of the occasion. These trusts still have time to do the right thing and recognise the valuable contribution NHS staff make to this country.”
NHS trusts in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are all paying staff bank holiday rates, which range from an extra 60 per cent of pay to double pay, said Unite.