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Royal wedding holiday uncertainty damaging staff morale, survey finds

The extra discretionary bank holiday for the royal wedding is set to impact upon employee morale up and down the country, with workers desperate to secure time off, according to a recent study of 1,000 office workers.

A quarter (25%) of UK office workers could be desk-bound during the royal wedding, according to the survey from recruiters, Badenoch & Clark.

More than a third (35%) of workers suggested that uncertainty over holiday allowances and lack of effective communication from managers on the issue could cause anger among employees. Workers in London are particularly concerned about their holiday allowance, with almost a third (30%) suggesting that employers have not addressed the issue of the forthcoming royal wedding bank holiday. Nearly half (47%) of employees believe that a decision on whether workers will be given this as holiday will directly affect morale among employees.

This uncertainty is not restricted to the south-east. Confusion regarding bank holiday allowance was similarly strong among those working in Scotland and the south-west, with over a third (36% and 35%, respectively) suggesting managers had not raised the issue.

Lynne Hardman, managing director, professional services at Badenoch & Clark, said: "Employers have a duty to communicate clearly and effectively to their workers. This includes decisions on holiday allowance. If not correctly managed, employers may find workers react badly to what appears to be a last-minute decision - leading to low morale among employees.

"Managers must be seen to give clear direction on bank holiday allowances. However, workers must be aware that employers are not statutorily obliged to give their employees public or bank holidays as additional leave and that the announcement of an extra bank holiday does not increase any entitlement to holiday under the Working Time Regulations.

"To alleviate the bad news of having staff work on the bank holiday, employers could consider allowing flexi-working around the key parts of the day, or permitting staff to watch the ceremony at work. Nonetheless, if managed correctly, allowing workers to take full advantage of the bank holiday could be a great way to strengthen workplace morale on a day of national celebration."