Health workers have been told they will not be paid extra if they are made to work on 29 April, the day of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, despite it being designated a national bank holiday.
NHS trusts are simply being “mean” for making staff work on that day without paying them the going rate, the Unison trade union said.
The Department of Health is “allowing” each hospital to decide its own arrangement for time off and wages for staff made to work.
Health workers in on a bank holiday are paid their normal rate plus 60% and a day in lieu but bosses at hospitals in Solihull, Birmingham, Lancashire and Norfolk are trying to treat it as a normal working day, Unison said.
National Officer Mike Jackson said: “It’s only fair to pay nurses and hospital staff a little bit extra, for coming in and running essential services on the royal wedding day. It’s been declared a public holiday and they will be missing out on celebrations across the country and with friends and family.
“There is not much for staff to celebrate in the NHS at the moment, with the prospect of a two-year pay freeze and job cuts looming large. It is mean-minded and demoralising of trusts to spoil this special day by refusing overtime rates.
“The decision on whether to pay or not should not be left to the whim of individual trusts.”
Unison is meeting NHS employers on 25 February to discuss payments for staff forced to work on 24 April.
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“If anyone takes the time to look at the ACAS website they will see that it is really at the employers’ discretion whether to even give it or not. Presumably a day off in lieu will also be given. Staff in general practice don’t normally get paid any extra for working public hols – so stop moaning and be glad you have a job. We all work hard in the NHS and don’t have many perks but then neither do millions of other workers” – Mary, Scotland
“It is a bank holiday and should be treated like one. As for the comment with regards to industry by Ange [below], if anyone else works a bank holiday they will expect double pay, as nurses we weork christmas day for time and two thirds. Nursing is not well paid and as for perks, can you show me where they are?” – Dave, Northants
“It’s no different from any other Bank Holiday – or is it? I suspect it will be a nice little jolly for most, sitting watching the whole event with the patients and getting 60% extra and a day off to look forward to! How many other people in industry have such perks? Past experience suggests that not a lot gets done when there’s a royal event on the telly. Times are going to be tough – it’s about time we stopped moaning and got on with the job in hand, there wont be an option when it’s all privatised …” – Ange, Staffs
“The level of morale is rock bottom at the moment and East Kent’s decision to ignore this declared bank holiday by running full lists and normal services further supports the impression that as healthcare workers we are not like other members of the society that we serve” – Lauren, Kent
“Yes it should and the employers will find a much better response from their staff in future if they recognise that they are working on a Bank Holiday” – Name and address withheld
“It has been declared a Bank Holiday and therefore should be paid as such. It is unacceptable to force people to work and not pay the going rate. An example of why we need to retain National Pay Scales and fight any moves to negate/destroy them” – Jo, Kent
“Yes, it will give the people of this country something to look forward to” – Name and address withheld