Gwynedd Council to disuss £200,000 plan to make St David’s Day a national holiday for staff
Gwynedd Council will next week discuss making St. David’s Day a national holiday for staff.
An item to be discussed on Tuesday includes the proposal which would cost £200,000 due to the need to employ part-time staff to keep the council running on March the 1st. An alternative suggestion of a half-day off, which would cost £100,000, is also mooted.
The proposal also condemns the “hugely disappointing” response of the UK Government to the council’s suggestion of allowing the Welsh Government to designate bank holidays last year.
In December the UK Government rejected calls for a St David’s Day Bank Holiday after claiming too many people commute across the Welsh and English border to make the idea feasible.
The item before Gwynedd Council next week suggests that “St David’s Day 2022 is designated as an additional holiday day for Council staff working on the terms of employment of local government employees, for celebrating our patron saint’s day to be funded in accordance with paragraph 2.10 of the report b”.
It also suggests that the council “authorize officers to investigate possible options to make such an arrangement permanent and to that end further discussions with the recognized trade unions and continue to lobby for Westminster Government support for devolution to the Welsh Government empowered them to establish bank holidays for Wales”.
The report notes that it “would cost around £200,000 every year to the Council (around £100,000 to execute the last option which is half a day of holiday and redesignating the other half day of holidays which are currently allowed)”.
“These costs are mainly because of the need to employ part-time staff to ensure that the service continues in the absence of full-time staff.”
In October of last year, Gwynedd Council send a letter to ministers calling for an end to the “embarrassing” anomaly of the Scottish and Northern Irish Governments being able to designate their national days while no such powers are currently devolved to Cardiff Bay.
But in a letter Paul Scully MP, the Minster for Small Business, has poured cold water on any additional Bank Holiday for Wales.
Writing in response to the council’s request, Mr Scully noted, “While we appreciate that the people of Wales want to celebrate their patron saint, more people work across the English/Welsh border than across the English/Scottish border.
“This closer degree of integration could cause greater business disruption. If we had separate bank holidays in England and Wales, the impact on both employees and businesses is difficult to predict.”
In the proposal before Gwynedd Council next week, this response is described as “hugely disappointing”.
“It is obvious that the current government at Westminster has no intention of devolving this right and so it will not be possible for the Welsh Government to respond to the council’s demand for now,” they said.
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