Deloitte has introduced a flexible public holiday policy for its UK employees that could benefit both religious and non-religious minority groups in the workplace and others. Will other firms follow?
Their new “flexible public holidays” policy for its 22,000 UK staff will allow them to take time off on the dates “most meaningful to them.” This includes the right to be able to work on public holidays such as Good Friday and Christmas Day and take other days off instead if they prefer.
The new flexible public holiday policy comes in addition to their contractual and purchased holiday allowance. It could be beneficial to non-religious staff who don’t celebrate religious public holidays and those from minority faith backgrounds in the UK, such as Muslims who may prefer to work on holidays like Christmas Day.
Other employers such as professional services competitor Grant Thornton and audio streaming company Spotify have introduced similar policies amid a climate of firms offering more incentives for employees to remain with an organisation, as rising vacancies and the war for talent continues.
Grant Thornton announced its flexible public holiday policy back in October 2021. He said it would help employees take the time off that matters to them most, “whether that’s having a day of holiday to celebrate Eid rather than Easter, or a day off during Pride Month,” highlighting that other workplace communities, such as LGBTQ+ people might prioritise other public celebrations that are of value to them.
With Ramadan, the month of fasting and religious observation celebrated by members of the Muslim community, about to begin (April 2nd), news of flexible public holidays policies draw to light the importance of opening the scope of inclusion when it comes to public holidays and thinking about the cultural diversity of their workforce, including religious minorities, and the ones who may not want to celebrate religious holidays at all.
Jackie Henry, Deloitte’s managing partner for people and purpose in the UK, said: “We are committed to creating an inclusive environment — one where people feel like they belong and are better able to thrive, respecting different backgrounds and individual circumstances.”