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Millions of workers have the European Union to thank for the right to take an extra week's paid holiday from today says the TUC.

Attention: industrial correspondents

two pages

Workers to get more holiday thanks to Europe

Millions of workers have the European Union to thank for the right to take an extra week's paid holiday from today says the TUC.

The EU Working Time Directive guarantees virtually everyone at work, including agency workers - but excluding transport workers - four weeks' annual paid holiday, as long as they have been in a job for more than 13 weeks.

Last October, when the Working Time Directive came into force, around 2.5 million workers - many of them women working part-time - were able for the first time to take three weeks' paid holiday a year.

Anyone who needs more information about their holiday rights can call the TUC's Know Your Rights Line on 0870 600 4 882 for a free guide, Take a break!.

TUC General Secretary, John Monks, said: "Workers in the UK have much to thank Europe for. Today's increase in paid holiday is just another example of how decisions made in Brussels are improving working conditions for employees in the UK.

"Unbelievable as it seems, before last year's Working Time Directive British workers were the only employees in Europe with no rights to paid holiday. Thankfully this is no longer the case.

"It is in everyone's interests for workers to be given adequate breaks from work. Overtired, overworked employees are not good for business. The children whose parents were previously unable to take time off were clearly missing out too. Today is a day for everyone to celebrate."

Notes to Editors:

More information about holiday rights

      1) Holiday rights start once you have worked for the same employer for 13 weeks. This includes agency workers working for the same agency even if they have moved between placements.

      2) Bank holidays can be counted as part of your paid holiday entitlement.

      3) Holiday pay is calculated as an average of your last 13 weeks pay, including overtime.

      4) Employers can refuse requests for holiday, and designate parts of the year when staff cannot take holiday.

      5) Employers can instruct staff when they should take their holiday as long as they give sufficient notice.

      6) If your holiday year straddles today you should get between 3 and 4 weeks this year and 4 weeks next year. A table in the TUC's Take a Break explains how much extra you will get this year. This is available from the TUC's Know Your Rights Line 0870 600 4 882

Notes to Editors:

All TUC press releases can be found at


Media enquiries: Liz Chinchen on 020 7467 1248 or 01399 744115 (pager)

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