1.6m workers ‘missing out on holidays’

New figures published from the TUC suggest that the construction sector is one of the worst for workers missing out on their minimum legal entitlement to paid holidays.

A TUC analysis of unpublished figures from the Office for National Statistics’ 2014 Labour Force Survey (LFS) revealed that on average, 6.4 per cent of employees across the UK– some 1.6 million workers – were not receiving their full holiday entitlement.

Construction was one of the worst performing sectors, with 8.1 per cent of workers missing holiday entitlements. Others were arts and entertainment (13.9 per cent), accommodation and food (12.5 per cent) and administration and support services (9.2 per cent).

In 1998, the introduction of the EU Working Time Directive extended the right to paid leave to all workers for the first time. Entitlement in the UK was increased in 2007 and 2009 and now almost all full-time workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks, or 28 days, of paid holiday a year, which can include bank holidays.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said on 30 July: “Some employers deliberately stop staff from taking the leave and holiday pay they’re entitled to, whereas other workers lose out from poor management and failure to keep up with the law. Workers should not be cheated out of their holidays.”

Palmersemployment law specialist Lara Murray said: “Busy employers may find that keeping track of employees’ leave, and reminding them to take holiday owing, slips down their list of priorities when they are juggling many different responsibilities. Slip-ups over annual leave in those situations can easily be put right but a deliberate deprivation of an employee’s holiday rights is a serious matter that could lead to a worker taking a case to an employment tribunal.

“We can provide expert advice to employers to ensure employment policies and procedures in relation to annual leave are fully compliant and provide advice on paid holiday entitlements, which have been affected recently by rulings in the European Court of Justice and the UK employment appeal tribunal. For more information, please contact us.”