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Hemel Hempstead Police Station
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When the Police Pagan Association first hit the headlines, much of the media incorrectly reported that we had provided Pagan police officers and staff with an additional 8 days off to celebrate Pagan religious holidays.
In fact the right for employees to rearrange their holidays to corrolate with their religious beliefs has been in place since 2003, when The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) first published their advisory document 'Religion or Belief and the Workplace' in which they state the duty of an employer - where practical - to accomodate requests from employees for time off for days of religious observance.
More recently the Winsor Review allowed police officers and staff to reassign some of their Bank Holidays to better suit their personal requirements. These dates are instead of the allocated 8 Bank Holidays as prescribed by the Gregorian calendar, not in addition to them.
For many Pagans this is fortuitous, as there are 8 mainstream neo-Pagan holidays to which many adhere; the Winter and Summer Soltices, the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes and the 4 minor days interspersed therein. However not all Pagans celebrate or even acknowledge these holidays, with some - such as Heathens - aligned to a Northern European calendar; the current legislation allows for employees to adapt their Bank Holidays suited to their individual needs or path.
Operationally, some Pagan police officers - especially those in front line roles - have had some issues with booking Hallowe'en off to observe Samhain, and rearranging Christmas day for the purpose of Yule, as these days traditionally require additional or adaptive resourcing; however the Winsor Review specifically states that if the elected Bank Holidays are rearranged specifically for religious observation that the constabulary must do what it can to accomodate those requests.
This legislation has largely been embraced by Constabularies, especially in times of austerity, as it means that many Pagans are available to work on Gregorian Bank Holidays at standard rate, and meaning that colleagues who celebrate Christmas etc. are more likely to be given the time off without diminishing operational capabilities.
For a comprehensive list of all Pagan holidays and days of religious observance, please go to: www.pagancalendar.co.uk.