Holiday madness hits Scottish health service

Sep 07 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Employers who are keen to alienate large sections of their workforce and increase tensions in their workplaces will want to take note of the latest 'initiative' rolled out by a Scottish NHS trust - NHS Tayside – giving staff with children two extra weeks' paid holiday - at taxpayers' expense, of course.

According to the Dundee-based Courier newspaper:

A year ago, in an effort to encourage staff to spend quality time with their children, employees with a child under 14 were entitled to claim an extra week of paid leave.

It was intended to be a one-off allowance, part of a big programme of family-friendly policies.

Far from being a one-off, however, the initiative has now been reviewed and extended to two weeks' entitlement.

A member of staff at Perth Royal Infirmary, who did not want to be named, yesterday claimed the divisive two-tier policy is creating animosity.

She said, "It's basically discrimination.

"It isn't just me who is annoyed by this.

"There are a lot of people who don't qualify for the extra two weeks who are very unhappy about it.

"Apart from staff morale, there's also the financial aspect.

"We are always being told that there is no money in the NHS and they squander it in this way."

The Trust's HR director, Alan Boyter, was quoted as justifying the decision by claiming that "work and parenthood can create conflicting pressures and parental leave helps flexible working."

How long, we wonder, until other "conflicting pressures" start to boil over in Dundee's hospitals?

The Courier | Health workers' holiday row