Minimum holiday entitlement has risen to 28 days
Commenting on the announcement that workers in the UK minimum annual leave has gone up to 5.6 weeks, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
`Millions of hard-working employees across the UK have much to smile about and many of those who will get more time off work will be low paid women. It is a victory for union campaigning, which has long pushed for UK leave to be increased so that it is more in line with the holidays enjoyed by other workers in Europe. But it`s disappointing that people had to wait before getting their full increase. The change to leave is affordable and could have been introduced in one go. The Government didn`t need to opt for phasing in, as the cost of introducing this measure has been overstated. Some employers will moan at having to give their staff additional holiday, but smart bosses already give their employees more than the minimum entitlement, because it makes good business sense to do so.`
The Working Time Regulations (1998) established a statutory minimum of four weeks paid annual leave. However, as there is no statutory right to be paid for public holidays, unscrupulous employers were able to count them as part of the annual leave entitlement. Following a sustained campaign by the trade unions, the Labour Party included a commitment to deal with this issue in their manifesto for the 2005 General Election.
These proposals will increase the statutory minimum entitlement to 5.6 weeks. This will mean that full-time workers get at least 28 days paid leave per year, with a pro-rata entitlement for part-time workers. The increase happened in two phases:
October 2007 4.8 weeks (24 days)
April 2009 5.6 weeks (28 days)
Initial Government estimates of the cost of introducing the 1998 regulations were later substantially reduced. This revision stemmed from the difficulty in quantifying in advance the substantial personnel benefits that stem from increasing holiday entitlements.