(CMR) The upcoming public holiday for the now-canceled referendum day is causing a lot of employers angst as they are concerned that they are still being forced to pay employees double pay. Premier Alden McLaughlin has confirmed that despite the postponement of the Thursday, December 19 referendum the day will still be observed as a public holiday.
However, employers are not keen on that idea. Expressing concerns that the added costs will not materialize into additional sales for them. One employer stated:
“If there is voting for the referendum we all agree there is a legitimate reason for the holiday. However, now that it is postponed or delayed by the court we feel the holiday should also be canceled. What sense does it make to have a holiday now and then an additional one next year as well? Why not suspend the holiday since the sole purpose of it was to accommodate the referendum?
Another employer shared with CMR that:
“As an employer, I get to pay my guys double time for a project that we are close to completing. Small profit, just made smaller!”
Several employers have contacted CMR indicating that they are disappointed that the government would keep that public holiday right before Christmas for no reason. Indicating this time of year makes it difficult for them to give everyone the day off one restaurant owner said that this just wasn't fair to his business:
“I have to pay chefs and waitstaff double pay on a regular day no. There's no reason for the holiday and do not understand why the government doesn't cancel it. I understand it when the referendum was on but now what's the point?”
People appear uncertain about who to blame for this fiasco. Some persons are blaming the groups bringing the legal challenges; while others claim the premier knew full well this would definitely be challenged in the courts and should have fixed a date for 2020. Another business owner shared:
“Actually, I blame them both. But for the most part those who took this thing to the courts! Truthfully, my opinion was that the referendum vote results would have not favored the port and ended this song and dance! But rather, we are now burdened with another holiday and another, and possibly another.”
There are also concerns that next year, once the legal battles are settled there, will be an additional holiday added to the 2020 calendar for the referendum.
For their part, employees appear to welcome the day off before the festive holiday season. One shared:
“Let's keep it. I hope that some retailers will be open so that we can actually get out and shop before Christmas. It's normally so challenging to find time when working full time.”
This is the second public holiday that was added to the regular schedule this year. In March a last-minute holiday was added for the royal visit of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
What's your opinion on this? Should the upcoming public holiday be canceled?