30 July 2018
New TUC research estimates that 2.2 million workers do not receive the paid annual leave they are entitled to, losing out on nearly £3 billion worth of holiday pay per year.
Around one in 12 workers are affected by the issue, with 1.2 million not receiving any paid leave at all, due to individuals being set unrealistic workloads that do not leave them any time to take off, and employers deliberately denying holiday requests or failing to keep up to date with their legal duties.
The problem is worse in some sectors than others, affecting nearly 15% of those working in agriculture, mining and quarrying; and almost 14% in accommodation and food.
p>In retail, 348,000 workers have been affected, 342,000 in education, and 291,000 in health and social care, while the issue is also more likely to affect women (9.2%) than men (7.2%).
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, 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.
“Employers have no excuse for robbing staff of their well-earned leave. 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.”
Indeed, the lack of enforcement of employment law has been widely criticised recently, both in the Taylor Review and by Parliamentary Committees following inquiries into discrimination and human rights in the workplace.
The government undertook a consultation on the enforcement of holiday pay but is yet to report.
While the TUC recommended additional powers for HMRC to crack down on employers who do not provide their workers with their legal entitlement to paid holiday, including the ability to ensure workers are fully compensated, the Institute of Employment Rights proposes that a new agency is set up to ensure the enforcement of the law across all aspects of employment.
It is known that enforcement of workers’ rights is poor across the board, partly due to ineffective penalties on employers and means of ensuring they pay up, and partly because the onus is currently on individual workers to identify breaches and take them to tribunal.
In our influential Manifesto for Labour Law – which has been adopted by the Labour Party as a blueprint for the reform of workers’ rights – our experts recommend that an independent Labour Inspectorate is established, with the power to enter workplaces and issue cease and desist notices, as well as a new, more effective system of Labour Courts.