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States consider moving May Day for next year

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CHANGES could be made to the May Day bank holiday.

(Picture by Peter Frankland, 24912616)

The UK announced at the weekend that next year’s May Day bank holiday was being moved from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May. This would mean it would coincide with the 75 anniversary of VE Day – Victory in Europe Day, which marks the day when fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end in Europe.

That way the bank holiday will form part of three-days of festivities in the UK.

States of Guernsey school term dates still list 4 May as the bank holiday.

An Economic Development spokesperson said staff were giving consideration to the 2020 May bank holiday arrangements.

‘[We are] conscious of the significance of the 75 anniversary of the island’s liberation and the fact that in 2020 Liberation Day will fall on a Saturday,’ they said.

‘We had already begun consulting with businesses on how an alternative bank holiday may affect them. We then became aware the UK was considering a similar change, and so we have been awaiting clarification from Westminster to better inform our decision for Guernsey and to ensure alignment with the UK. Now that an announcement has been made in the UK, the Committee for Economic Development feels it is appropriate to propose a similar change, namely moving the May Day bank holiday from Monday 4 to Friday 8.’

The decision will require approval from the States and staff are working to get the proposal before the Assembly as soon as possible.

‘We appreciate that the change in day may cause some inconvenience for those planning events, travel or family occasions,’ the spokesperson said.

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‘We had hoped to be able to give guidance earlier, however that was dependent on getting clarity from the UK on its arrangements

which only came over the weekend.’

While Liberation Day on 9 May is a public holiday, it is not a bank holiday.

This means that when the day falls on a weekend, employers do not have to give staff an extra day in lieu.

‘Ultimately we hope by having a bank holiday on the Friday before Liberation Day, it allows more of an opportunity to commemorate the 75th anniversary and the sacrifices and challenges faced by those who lived through the Occupation.’

Liberation Day last fell on a weekend in 2015, when it was also on a Saturday. Despite a requete being debated in the States, the idea of giving workers a weekday off was rejected after deputies voted 20-20.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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