Are you getting as much paid holiday as you should?
As millions get ready for their summer holidays, we can reveal today that about one in twelve are getting less holiday time than the law stipulates.
Our research shows that 2.2 million working people are getting fewer paid holidays than they are entitled to – and of this number 1.2 million are getting no paid holidays at all.
In total, working people are losing more than £3 billion of holiday pay each year.
Employers have no excuse for robbing staff of their well-earned leave – UK workers put in billions of hours of unpaid overtime as it is.
That’s why we’re calling for the government to toughen up enforcement to stop bosses cheating staff out of their leave.
What’s the legal minimum?
Nobody should be getting less than the minimum holiday entitlement.
The Working Time Regulations give workers a statutory minimum of 28 days paid annual leave (this may include public holidays), or the pro-rata number for those who work less than 5 days a week.
This has been the law since 2009, when trade unions persuaded the government to increase the Europe-wide minimum standard of four weeks leave.
The law applies to “workers”, which is a legal term that includes employees, agency workers and some people who may be self-employed for tax purposes but are not actually running their own business.
Like the National Minimum Wage, the 5.6 weeks paid holiday entitlement is the legal minimum. But most of us get more through our employment contracts and trade union bargaining.
In fact, the average UK holiday entitlement including public holidays is 33.5 days – that’s more than a week above the statutory minimum.
Who’s missing out?
Our analysis shows that:
So what’s going wrong?
We’ve identified three reasons why people are missing out on the legal minimum:
Time to get tough
How come so many employers have been able to get away with not meeting the legal minimum?
Because if the boss just won’t play ball, workers can only enforce their statutory holiday rights by taking a case to an Employment Tribunal.
This is daunting for many, who fear that it will spoil their relationship with their employer.
So in practice, the law on holidays is mainly enforced in workplaces where there are trade unions or by people who no longer fear that insisting on their rights will spoil relations at work, such as those already leaving their job.
Something clearly has to change if everyone is to get the holiday they’re entitled to.
That’s why we want to see active enforcement by a government agency, preferably HMRC, who already enforce the National Minimum Wage.
Our proposal was picked up by the government’s advisor Matthew Taylor in his Review of Modern Working Practices (2017) and then mooted in the government’s consultation on the enforcement of employment rights in February 2018.
Since then, things have gone quiet. But with 2.2 million people missing out on some of their holidays this year, the government must act now to stop this happening again.