Scottish Borders Council is planning on moving its May Day 2020 bank holiday to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE day.
A report, due to go before a full meeting of the council on Wednesday June 26, asks councillors to follow Westminster’s intention to move the bank holiday from Monday, May 4 2020, to Friday, May 8.
The 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day is an opportunity to remember the contribution of British, Commonwealth and Allied armed forces personnel; those who contributed to the war effort and safeguarded the home front.
Bank holidays are a devolved matter, hence the difference in bank holidays in the nations of the UK, but the Scottish Government has announced it will also move the bank holiday, and Scottish Borders Council is being asked to follow suit for its employees.
A number of events are being held up and down the country on the weekend of May 8.
These include: ‘The Nation’s Toast’, where over 20,000 pubs will encourage customers to toast those who took part in the second world war; bagpipers playing at the top of the highest peaks in each of Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales; a special ‘Ringing Out for Peace’ of bells in churches and cathedrals across the United Kingdom; and local street parties and other celebrations across the weekend.
The report reads: “In addition to annual leave, taken at times requested by an employee and approved by their manager, Scottish Borders Council gives employees four public holidays per annum: Christmas Day, Boxing Day and January 1 and 2.
“It also gives two fixed holidays: May Day, falling on the first Monday of May, and St. Andrew’s Day, falling on the Monday nearest to November 30.
“The Scottish Government has announced that the May Day holiday in Scotland will also be moved to Friday May 8.
“The May Day holiday was previously moved in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of VE Day.
“Moving the holiday to Friday May 8 would allow council employees to take part in commemorative and celebratory events to mark the anniversary.
“If employees are not given the holiday on May 8 there is a risk of reputational damage to the council in that employees will be unable to take part in events on Friday May 8.
“The council may also be perceived as not suitably commemorating what is a significant anniversary.”
VE Day was first celebrated in 1945, the day after the Allies accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.