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Monday, 7 May 2012

Bank Holidays And Why They Should Be Banned

Since today is a bank holiday, and I'm sat at home twiddling my thumbs (first week back at work and then a 3day weekend; some would call that lucky), I thought that this would be the perfect time to wow you all with my theories about Bank Holidays.

These theories have been met with disdain, derision and destructive rage (in one memorable instance) but I stand by them.

If my understanding of socio-political history is correct; and that's a big if, since who has time for research when half remembered snippets of tabloid hackery are available; then Bank Holidays were introduced as a means of giving workers some guaranteed time off, in the days before statutory paid holidays were enforced. An admirable project, and one for which I'm sure many thousands, if not millions of hard working men and women were immensely grateful. Bu there's the thing...

These days we have mandatory paid leave. Some people have more than others, but everyone has it. So doesn't that mean that Bank Holidays are obsolete?To my mind, yes it does.

Now, in my youthful enthusiasm for these ideas I would tell everyone who'd listen that Bank Holidays should be scrapped and people should be content with whatever leave they get in their contracts. It didn't go down too well, let me tell you. These days though, I've mellowed. My theory now, is that Bank Holidays should be scrapped, but that all contracts should be amended to increase the paid leave by a proportionate number of days. This way, no one has any less time off work per annum, and the countries industry doesn't have to grind to a halt for a certain number of days a year.

If you think about it, beyond the knee jerk reaction of 'You can't take away our Bank Holidays because we're entitled to them', if it worked my way everyone is a winner. Yes, even the lowliest working man*. 

The employee: Exactly the same number of days off per year, but now with added flexibility in when to take them. Is the occasional 3 day weekend really better than the option of an extra week or more off when you want?

The employer: A little extra hassle with the holiday rota, more than offset by the fact that you are gaining over a weeks worth of extra trading days. Or if you're one of those increasingly common companies that trades on Bank Holidays, then your wage bill will decrease because you no longer have to pay overtime to your staff. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

The Country: Yes, even the country as a whole benefits, although I wouldn't put it past this current shower of dick wads to make a mess of it (bit of reasoned politics for you there). At least, I'm assuming it benefits; I'm not an economist. Surely though, shutting down the bulk of the nations industry 8 days a year (or however many Bank Holidays there are, I forget) can't be ideal. I mean, there could be a case to be made for 'one-off' surges, such as seaside resorts, theme parks and DIY shops, but is that really enough to offset what's lost? Especially since so much of that extra business is entirely dependent on the weather.

So there you have it. My theory about Bank Holidays. I hope you agree with it, but if you don't I don't care, since your opinion is clearly invalid.

*Of which I am one, lest I be accused of fat cattery; I have always worked, and quite contentedly expect to continue to work, at the lowest echelons of my industry;  my current job pays minimum wage.

Random extra rant which has no relation to the above; I went to the cinema for the first time in over 20 years this past weekend (Avengers is AWESOME) and I have to say that people are fucking animals. Seriously, the mess when the lights went up... what the hell?

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