'Take a proper break' | HR should urge staff to make the most of the Platinum Jubilee weekend

HR should urge staff to make the most of the Platinum Jubilee weekend

The country is getting ready to celebrate the longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, this week on her Platinum Jubilee.

To honour the Queen and her 70-year reign, street parties will be taking place up and down the country.

And new research by HR software provider CIPHR has revealed how British workers are planning on spending their time off over the forthcoming Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend.

Based on a poll of more than 1,000 people, the results suggested that most people will be taking the opportunity to rest, unwind and catch up with loved ones.

Around one in five (21%) people do intend to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's 70-year reign in some way, with visiting a local event being the most popular jubilee activity for many (14%). A further one in ten (11%) will be holding or attending a jubilee street party. Many will also be catching the action on TV.

Of course, a large percentage of the population will still be working, or on-call, at least some of the time. According to CIPHR’s findings, around a third (31%) of adults in the UK do typically have to work over public bank holidays. So, the upcoming ones are probably no exception.

Of those who have been given the day off as paid holiday, one in six (17%) admitted that they are likely to spend at least an hour or more doing some unpaid overtime, such as checking or replying to emails. That number rises to 32% of people working in senior management or leadership roles.

David Richter, Director of Marketing at CIPHR, said: “However you’re planning on spending the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend, do try to make sure you factor in some down time. Research shows that taking a proper holiday or break from work, if you can, is important for maintaining work-life balance and your health and wellbeing. It can help counter stress and burnout, and help you feel more energised and engaged.

“So, next time you’re reaching for your phone to check your emails out-of-hours or while on holiday – think twice. Because it can probably wait, and everyone needs some time away to relax, take it easy, and disconnect properly from work.”

What about staff working through the weekend?

However, despite workers being encouraged to take time to recharge over the Jubilee weekend, many may be giving the festivities a miss as they need to work during the bank holidays and over the weekend.

As such, the hundreds of thousands of road closures across the UK may well cause headaches for those trying to access their place of employment.

Much of the country is expected to be overwhelmed with tourists, and enhanced security measures which, combined with daily commuter traffic, is likely to lead to increased travel times and widespread delays.

Kate Palmer, HR Advice & Consultancy Director at Peninsula, shared advice for employers on the best way to handle delays and late starts.

“Given the momentousness of this occasion – it's the first time in history that any monarch has reached this milestone – I advise a degree of leniency towards any staff who are having difficulty in getting to work from 2 June through to 5 June,” Palmer told HR Grapevine.

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"Employers should allow for reasonable delays and relax normal rules on coming to work late.

"Adjustments should be made to support employees during this period. Employers can ask their staff to make up any lost time (e.g., by staying late when their shift ends), or deduct wages for non-working time, if there is a contractual provision to do so.

"However, where employers believe their employee is taking advantage of the situation, disciplinary action can be taken in line with normal processes.

"In the rare event that the employee is unable to get to work, employers should first consider whether the person is able to temporarily work from home. However, given that the primary industries who will be working over the Jubilee are likely to be hospitality, transport, and care, then this probably won't be an option. Therefore, employers should discuss the alternatives of taking the day as annual or unpaid leave.”

Palmer concluded: "There is no obligation to pay employees who cannot make themselves ready and available for work. At the end of the day, it is the employee's responsibility to get themselves to and from work, so there are no extra responsibilities on the employer if they can't do this.

“Street closures, celebratory events and alterations to public transportation have been well publicised so employees should be fully aware of the disruption and make alternative arrangements, allowing them to get to work on time."

Image - Julian Calder

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