December 10, 2020 1.56 pm This story is over 35 months old

Council staff get extra Christmas holiday as COVID efforts present

Most councils joined the scheme

Under pressure staff at some of Greater Lincolnshire’s councils will be rewarded with an extra day off.

Several councils have confirmed the move in response to the hard work that staff have done over the coronavirus period.

A scrutiny committee at West Lindsey District Council is due to agree a day’s additional leave on Thursday, while the City of Lincoln Council’s executive will examine similar plans on Monday.

City of Lincoln council leader councillor Ric Metcalfe said staff had done “a magnificent job” during the pandemic.

“This has helped us maintain our support for the city’s communities and we felt, as a council, that this should be acknowledged,” he said.

“The proposal of an additional day’s leave is our way of saying thank you and well done to our staff.”

City of Lincoln Council leader Ric Metcalfe. | Photo: Connor Creaghan for The Lincolnite

North Kesteven District Council Leader, Councillor Richard Wright said colleagues had risen to the challenges in “an exceptional manner” and that the award recognised the “excellent service and response”.

“For many, the circumstances of this year have presented some very difficult situations and a significant escalation in the volume and criticality of their roles […] being very much on the front line,” he said.

“The ongoing situation continues to draw them into these life-changing and life-enhancing situations and for that we are very grateful.”

North Kesteven District Council leader Richard Wright. Photo: Steve Smailes/Lincolnshire Reporter

East Lindsey District Council and Boston Borough Council staff will be given the entirety of Christmas Eve off — usually going home around lunchtime.

Assistant Director for Organisation and Corporate Services James Gilbert said: “Staff have been helping some of the most vulnerable people in the community and have worked many additional hours, along with organising the Strategic Alliance, home working for more than 270 days.

“It’s the least the authority felt it could do to give people that extended break.”

He said essential services would be maintained during that period.

Staff will be asked to use their extra leave in a “staggered approach” up to April 2021 and Mr Wright said customers “should experience no implications”.

In North East Lincolnshire Council staff will be given an extra day off with the aim for it to be Christmas Eve subject to service requirements.

“This gesture was in recognition of the immense amount of extra work staff have put in during the pandemic to ensure residents and businesses in the borough have received the support they’ve needed through this very difficult nine months,’’ a council spokesperson added.

However, not all councils have chosen to reward staff with time off, but instead opted for awards.

Lincolnshire County Council Chief Executive Debbie Barnes said: “Our staff have done a fantastic job during the COVID-19 pandemic and we have recognised that with a special staff award scheme this year.

“This is a busy time for public services and our staff are continuing to support our communities and partner services, such as the hospitals trust who are experiencing significant pressure.

“This means we currently need as many staff as possible to continue providing the help our residents need right up to and throughout, the Christmas period.”