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Inside Grant Thornton

How we’re making use of flexible bank holidays

Launched earlier this year, we were one of the first professional services firms to introduce flexible bank holidays. We hear from colleagues on how they’re making the most of this policy and using this to take time off for occasions that are important to them.

Earlier this year we introduced our flexible bank holiday policy, giving our people more options to choose when to take their bank holiday allowance. We value and respect the difference of everyone within the firm, and this policy is one way we can support everyone by allowing them to celebrate the holidays, religious occasions, and cultural heritage events that matter to them, when they need to.

At this halfway point in the year, we are pleased to see that on average 20% of our people are choosing to work traditional UK bank holidays, and making use of the extra days for occasions that are most important to them.

We spoke to colleagues across the firm to understand how people have been using the policy.

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Aziz Karimji, Corporate Tax Assistant

Aziz chose to work the jubilee weekend and use those bank holidays for Ashura.

"Shia Muslims have a 10-day gathering each year called Ashura, which takes place in Moharram, the first month in our Islamic calendar. During Ashura, we commemorate the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, Imam Hussain, and the sacrifices he made to keep the religion alive. I always try to attend this, wherever in the world it's held, but some locations are harder to get to, and it does use a lot of annual leave. This year, because of the flexible bank holiday policy, I've worked a couple of the traditional bank holidays and used this time towards my leave for Ashura. I really value working for a firm which gives me that flexibility and recognises that we don’t all want to celebrate standard UK bank holiday occasions.

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Gina Strausa, Continuous Improvement Executive

Gina has worked a bank holiday to give her the flexibility to return to Ireland for a family wedding.

"I prefer to take holiday during the build-up to Christmas, rather than between Christmas and the New Year. I love the parties every weekend in December, the excitement of buying and wrapping presents, and ticking off a Christmas film every other evening. This year, however, my cousin is getting married in Ireland on 29 December and I was reluctant to sacrifice all the time I'd booked before Christmas. I needed an extra day to attend the full celebration. Making use of the firm's flexible public holiday approach allowed me to work the Thursday of the Jubilee weekend and move the time to cover the wedding, and I still enjoyed a three-day weekend for the Jubilee!"

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Nathan Buschhold, Tax Associate

Nathan utilised the flexible bank holiday policy to ease into his return from study leave.

"As a trainee, I have a number of exams with periods of study leave beforehand. I've chosen to work two of the bank holidays so far, as they've fallen after periods of study leave. Being able to work on a day when not everyone was in, gave me the opportunity to catch up and get up to speed on some of the projects I was involved in, before ‘normal’ work resumed. By working on the bank holiday, I started the following week feeling on top of my workload and now have extras day to take off later in the year."

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Neil Davis, Audit Senior Manager

Neil extended his birthday leave by working New Year’s Day.

"I was one of the first people in the firm to benefit from an extra day off for my birthday in 2022, so I decided to make a long weekend of it. I chose to work on New Year’s Day to give me the flexibility to take an extra day after my birthday. Working on New Year's Day, when I had no plans and very few other people were in, meant I had such a productive day and I was able to really get in a good place with my workload before my long birthday weekend. It’s fantastic working for a firm that allows us this flexibility and is leading the way by making these moves."

Flexible bank holidays are just one of the benefits of Grant Thornton careers.