TUC calls for three more bank holidays a year

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called on the British government to review bank holiday entitlement and to give British workers an extra three days every year.

The call came after the release of the report, ‘Banking on your holiday?’ which revealed that British workers enjoy only eight bank holidays a year compared to 12 in Italy, 13 in Austria and up to 14 in Spain and Portugal.

Unlike their European counterparts, British workers do not have a legal right to take these bank holidays, but have to rely on the generosity of their employers.

And while the UK and the Netherlands have the least public holidays amongst EU countries, Dutch workers have the right to be paid for their public holidays.

A loophole in the UK Working Time Directive regulations also means employers can count bank holidays as part of the 20 day annual leave entitlement leaving some UK employees, in theory with only 12 days annual leave after bank holidays.

In the UK, workers have no statutory rights to bank holidays, having to rely instead on the generosity of their employers. Whilst this is the case with some of the European bank holidays, the majority are statutory days which employees are entitled, by law, to take.

The TUC said that employment rights legislation should support public holidays, arguing that it must be made clear that public holidays are not part of the annual leave entitlement in the Working Time Directive (20 days a year).

TUC General Secretary John Monks said: “This report shows that again British workers have been put at the bottom of the EU pile. But they need proper time off work as much as their European colleagues.

“UK workers have the shortest holidays and the lowest productivity in Northern Europe. So offering more holidays makes sense for employers too - happier workers are more productive.” (MB)

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