Give yourself a break…

notepad, laptop and coffee in a cafe

Are you self-employed? Are you about to tweet a complaint about working on a Bank Holiday when “everyone else” on your social media timeline is enjoying a three or four 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. Someone might even have just brought you a fresh coffee whilst you work in their cafe…

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 servers
  • 3 sales assistants in Gosh! comics
  • 2 barista in Soho
  • 1 Tube driver
  • 1 train driver
  • 1 train guard
  • 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.

Bank or public holidays do not have to be given as paid leave.
An employer can choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave.

Holiday entitlement, GOV.UK

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

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

You have the power here: you are your own boss. 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 mucking around on social media is not possible in the workplace.

Note: This post was originally published on this blog in 2012. As part of restoring some of the older posts, this post has been backdated to its original date and the quote has been updated to point to current GOV.UK guidance.

Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay


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