South Yorkshire officers Bank Holiday status quo

OFFICERS in South Yorkshire Police have largely snubbed the opportunity to change the dates of this year’s Bank Holidays.

Jim Lucas, secretary of South Yorkshire Police Federation, (pictured) said plans in the Winsor reforms to save the service money had backfired – with front line cops mainly choosing to remain with the status quo.

Only 180 officers out of 2,775 in the force have requested to change some of their Bank Holidays in the coming year.

“They are trying to make savings because on Bank Holidays, officers get paid double time,” said Mr Lucas.

“Unless officers have religious reasons to celebrate a holiday at a different time of the year, we couldn’t see any benefit in changing the Bank Holidays. People will want to take holidays and time off when their families are off.

“People have got lives to live and they have got families and they want to spend time with their families. Clearly by changing their Bank Holidays, that would not be the case.”

Constables and Sergeants in the force had until January to substitute the statutory Bank Holidays – such as Boxing Day and May Day – for other days of their choice otherwise they would have received “statutory” Bank Holidays.

Mr Lucas added: “Under Winsor recommendations – in an attempt to try and make some savings – the Government brought a change in Bank Holidays in and thought people would make the changes to make some savings.

“However, certainly in our force, we have had 180 people to change some of the days and not all of them. Nationally we hear some forces have only had 20 people change them.

“They are not making any savings whatsoever.”

The voluntary re-allocation of statutory Bank Holidays by officers to dates of their choice was a recommendation in the Winsor 1 proposals. The exception is Christmas Day.

Mr Lucas added: “The Government were hoping people would change their Bank Holidays in their entirety so they would work the days that would have been a Bank Holiday as a “normal” – not at double time.

“So for instance, at Easter, someone might want to change Good Friday and have a Monday off sometime in August – and they wouldn’t get paid double time for working on Good Friday.

“But a lot of people, if their children are off and their families are off, officers will want to have the same time off as their families or get paid double time as they still have to work.”

Winsor suggests that cancellation of a new “Bank Holiday” date should be so rare that prior authorisation of at least an ACC would be required. If, however, the officer is required to work, they would be paid double time as usual for working a Bank Holiday.