The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has warned today (Friday 27 July 2018) that one in 12 UK workers – an estimated 2.2 million people – are not getting their legal holiday entitlement. Of these employees, 1.2 million have not received any paid leave at all.
UK workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid leave under the Working Time Regulations 1998, which equates to 28 days for a typical five-day working week, including public holidays, with pro-rata entitlement for those who work fewer than five days per week.
Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “We’re now in peak holiday season. But while many workers are away enjoying time off with friends and family, millions are missing out. And that puts them at risk of burnout.”
The TUC’s analysis, based on unpublished data from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Labour Force Survey, found that UK workers are losing almost £3 billion of paid leave per year, and that 9.2% of female employees are not getting their full holiday entitlement, compared with 7.2% of male workers.
Agriculture (15%), mining and quarrying (15%) and accommodation and food (14%) are the sectors in which staff are most likely to lose out. Meanwhile, the sectors with the highest overall numbers of staff missing out on paid leave are retail (348,000), education (342,000) and health and social care (291,000).
The TUC suggests that the key reasons for the loss of paid leave include unrealistic workloads, employers deliberately denying holiday requests, and organisations failing to remain up-to-date with the legal requirements.
The TUC states that HMRC should be granted new powers to clamp down on those employers that deny their workers their statutory entitlement, including the power to ensure staff are fully compensated for missed holidays.
“Employers have no excuse for robbing staff of their well-earned leave,” said O’Grady. “UK workers put in billions of hours of unpaid overtime as it is. The government must toughen up enforcement to stop bosses cheating staff out of their leave.”