By Daniel Hunter

As the country starts digging out the bunting and preparing for street parties, experts are warning businesses to watch out for any less positive outbreaks of ‘Jubilee fever’.

With a special bank holiday to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee creating a four day weekend for most workers, bosses are being warned to expect high levels of absenteeism during the three-day week that follows.

“When we had the three day week around the Royal Wedding last year, we saw absenteeism soar as skiving workers threw sickies to give themselves even more time off," Peter Mooney, head of consultancy at ELAS, said.

“I’ve no doubt that there will be employees this year who let ‘Jubilee fever’ get the better of them and decide to call in sick for anything from an extra day to the full week.

“Most companies don’t expect a sick note for anything less than seven days’ absence, so people will easily be able to ring in, self certify, and not come to work for a full week.”

For employers, the lost productivity is simply an extra problem caused by the creation of the extra public holiday.

“When the Government announces a ‘special bank holiday’ it causes all manner of problems for small businesses," Mr Mooney added.

“Employees hear in the media that there’s an extra bank holiday so they believe they are entitled to take the day off, but it’s not always that simple and this year, nearly two thirds of businesses are planning to make staff either work the day as usual, or take it out of their annual leave entitlement.

“Add to that the fact that large numbers of staff then try request holiday leave to take advantage of the three-day week legitimately, leaving employers looking like the villain when they inevitably have to refuse some of those requests.

“Finally, there are then some businesses for whom it is simply not economical to open up for a three day week because of the costs involved with starting up and closing down production lines for such a short spell.”

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