Give yourself a break

Are you self-employed? Are you about to tweet a complaint about working on a Bank Holiday when “everyone else” on your timeline is enjoying a 3 day weekend? Hold off pressing that send button for a moment, and let me explain something to you.

You are not the only person working on a Bank Holiday Monday.

We took a trip to That London over the long June Bank Holiday, and spent the Monday drifting around the city. Here is a list of all the people we met that day who were working:

  • 3 hotel receptionists
  • 3 hotel catering/cleaning staff
  • 1 TfL bus driver
  • 1 British Museum security guard (I think he was on a ciggie break but he helped us anyway)
  • 3 cafe waiters/waitresses
  • 3 people in Gosh! comics
  • 2 barista in Soho
  • 1 Tube driver
  • 1 train driver
  • 1 train guard (sorry, “customer service person”)
  • 1 buffet steward
  • 1 supermarket checkout person
  • 1 pizza delivery person

That’s 22 people who were all working on the Bank Holiday. More importantly, they are 22 employed people who will have had to have a discussion with their manager over whether they have the day off, or if they come into work. And if the manager is short of staff for a rota, some of them may not have had much choice. And they may not have got extra money or time off in lieu for giving up that Holiday.

You don’t have an automatic right to paid leave on bank and public holidays, though many people receive the day off work. Any right to time off or extra pay for working on a bank holiday depends on the terms of your contract of employment.

DirectGov advice on time off from employment

So if you are self-employed and are going to work the Bank Holiday Monday, either:

  • Get on with it, and accept your decision to work,
  • Have a word with your boss self about whether you need to be working the day.

You have the power here. You can give yourself the day off. Or you can make yourself work.

But don’t act the martyr if you do decide to work. You are not, in fact, the only person working on a Bank Holiday Monday. Millions of others are. But maybe you’re not aware of them because they’re in the hospitality trade, or retail, or transport, or any of the many other service industry jobs where fannying around on social media is not possible in the workplace?

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