Today’s Editorial for November 3: Public holidays cost businesses

We don’t want to rain on the parade that is a public holiday Friday to welcome our new modernised constitution, but…

Businesses throughout the Cayman Islands will suffer financially because of another government mandated public holiday.

One contractor has already said that he plans to put in a bill for the cost of the lost day of work.

He makes a valid point. He has to pay his workers for the holiday, whether or not they work. If they do work, he’s going to have to pay them extra. If he keeps them off the job site for the public holiday on Friday, through the weekend and then the public holiday on Monday, money will still be lost because the job will fall behind.

The ironic thing is that this contractor is doing sub work to Tom Jones International, the company that is building the John Gray and Clifton Hunter high schools in George Town and North Side. Those bills will get passed on to Government, no doubt along with Tom Jones’ own extra ordinary costings.

Many businesses were caught by surprise when the extra holiday was announced by Gov. Stuart Jack. Few, if any, have had time to make budget adjustments to pay workers not to work.

It is a given that public holidays cost businesses in the Cayman Islands.

While we agree we should celebrate the fact that we have a new modernised constitution in the Cayman Islands, we have to wonder if this is the right time to put on an extra public holiday.

Many businesses are already suffering because of a weak economy.

We don’t doubt that workers will appreciate an extra day off, making this an ultra-long weekend. But we do have to wonder how many of those who won’t be at work on Friday will be taking part in the Constitution Commencement and Remembrance Day activities.

Since the announcement was made about the new public holiday, businesses have been in a frantic state rescheduling clients and figuring out ways to keep their businesses afloat for four days of unproductivity.

Maybe some more thought, with input from businesses, could have been put into this notion of an added public holiday.