Bank holiday a thing of the past?

WHILE butchers, bakers and candlestick makers may no longer enjoy an annual trade holiday, banks will not open on Monday because it is the bank holiday.

However, the long cherished paid day off for those working in banking may soon be a thing of the past.

The bank holiday was first named in the NSW Bank and Bank Holidays Act of 1912. It is a day on which banks are not permitted to open for business.

Consequently, bank employees and employees in the financial services sector have enjoyed the day off. It has no equivalent in other States.

However, the Newcastle Permanent will be keeping its doors open on Monday after applying to the NSW Department of Industrial Relations to do so.

It has also sought approval to remain open on the August bank holiday in future years.

The building society's management said the move was about improving customer service and was supported by staff.

The staff will still get a paid day off, but on a day of their choosing.

A 2009 review of the bank holiday recommended it be abolished and the Austra- lian Bankers Association supports the move.

"We recognise that bank and other financial institution employees have generally enjoyed this holiday entitlement and so propose an alternative entitlement be established to replace it," a spokesperson for the associ- ation said.

"Abolishing the holiday would allow banks to trade more equally with other retail businesses and service providers.

The recommendations from the review said not all financial institutions were required to observe this day.



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