Many years ago, I worked for the Ministry of Agriculture. In the office you understand, during my 5 years I only ended up on the farm half a dozen times. Partly this was because they insisted I wear a luminous green boiler suit for two of those, and there’s little the farmers laugh at more than some Ministry office ned dressed in brand new overalls.
Anyway, aside from all the cow killing I wished to arrange, one of the benefits was that most bank holidays included a Tuesday. The reasons for this were lost in the mists of time but since the pay was terrible, we weren’t going to argue.
Even better we had a day off for the Queen’s birthday and I spent a lot of time wishing she would have such a good time at the party she’d pop her clogs. Then I was sure we would get a day off for the funeral, another for the coronation and if Charlie had his official birthday late in the year, another day off for this. That concept was nearly as exciting as the chance to use the official black-edged mourning stationery I’d slid through in a large order because I was curious about it.
Anyway, fast forward a few years and I work for the County Council. There we only received the standard bank holidays and no royal birthdays. Weirdly though, the cleaning staff still got the Tuesday off.
It seems that years before, there had been a plan to ditch the Tuesday and add the extra days to our leave allowance. The cleaners union had objected so they stayed with the old system, meaning they had to take the Tuesday whether they liked it or not while the rest of us could use those days when we felt like it. OK, so the bins didn’t get emptied but our office wasn’t messy anyway.
You could argue that this was a bit daft. The freely available days could have been used to take the Tuesdays if the person preferred, but that’s the way of the Civil Service and the lunacy of some Unions.
Of course, all those rules are good news for writers who set parts of their books in the world of government and like a bit of idiocy to prove some laughs…