Cambridgeshire County Council staff forced to take three days unpaid leave at Christmas

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Staff at Cambridgeshire County Council will be forced to take three days unpaid leave at Christmas as the authority tries to balance the books.

A spokesman for the council said that in year pressures meant the council has to find an additional £14.6m in savings during 2018/19, on top of savings already planned when councillors set this year’s budget in February.

In an attempt to find some of the savings, the spokesman said: “Except for some essential services - Cambridgeshire County Council will close on 27, 28 and 31 December, and all but the lowest paid staff (those earning under £25k per year) will take these days as unpaid leave.

“This will contribute £900k to closing the budget gap, and is the saving the council could otherwise achieve by cutting around 40 full time posts.”

‘Essential services’ unaffected by the closure or run by a reduced team will include residential services, social care adult and children’s safeguarding, hospital discharge teams, drug and alcohol support, coroner’s services and registrars (for pre booked events).

Some years ago the council negotiated with trade unions a clause in all Cambridgeshire County Council employees’ contracts to impose a period of up to three days unpaid leave if the financial situation made it necessary – and this year for the first time it has.

The spokesman added: “The council has only introduced this measure as a last resort - and to support its hard working staff the unpaid leave costs will be deducted in twelve equal amounts from staff salaries starting from November – a total amount roughly equating to 1.2 per cent of their annual pay.”