Highlands & Islands

Day off for Diamond Jubilee 'could improve morale'

The Queen
Image caption The Diamond Jubilee will mark 60 years of the Queen's reign

Giving Highland Council staff a day off for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 could be good for their morale, councillors are being told.

Employees were not given Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding as a holiday amid concerns it would cost the local authority £200,000.

However, in a report to councillors, officers said a day off for the jubilee could be beneficial in terms of morale.

Allowing the additional one-off holiday in June could cost Highland £90,000.

The Diamond Jubilee will mark 60 years of the Queen's reign.

Celebrations will centre around an extended weekend running from 2-5 June.

The £90,000 cost would be incurred from bringing in relief staff to cover for workers in social work and the transport, environmental and community services departments.

Council workers do not have a statutory right to bank holidays and when they can take them is determined by their contracts.

In the report, officers have set out three options for councillors to consider.

They could grant an additional day of annual leave on 5 June and, subject to Scottish government approval, close schools.

The second option is similar but would see the holiday taking place on 4 June.

Option three would allow non-school staff to request time off as one of their seven "floating" public holidays, or take it as flexi-leave.

However, there would be no automatic entitlement to leave requests being granted.

Officers said in the report: "While there did not appear to be strong adverse staff reaction to the council's refusal to recognise the Royal Wedding, there could be benefits in terms of improved staff morale if the council was to recognise the Diamond Jubilee."

They said the majority of public employers and many private employers were expected to give staff the bank holiday.

The Royal Wedding was not given as a holiday to Highland Council staff because it was said it would have cost the authority £200,000 and disruption to the school year.

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