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Millions of workers are missing out on their leave entitlement through unrealistic workloads or managers stopping them from taking leave.
One in 14 UK workers are not getting their legal holiday entitlement, according to new TUC analysis, with women workers less likely to get their legal entitlement than men.
The TUC estimates that nearly two million employees (1.960 million) are not getting the minimum paid leave entitlement they are owed and that over a million (1.145 million) are not getting any paid leave at all. The main reasons are unrealistic workloads that do not allow time to take leave employers deliberately denying holiday requests and managing out people’s leave and employers not keeping up to date with the law.
The analysis shows women workers (8.3%) are worse affected than men (5.9%) and that the sectors with the highest numbers of staff losing out on their legal holiday paid entitlement are education (341,000), retail (302,000) and health and social care (264,000) where women predominate.
The TUC says the number of people taking unpaid holiday claims has more than doubled since tribunal fees were abolished in 2017. The majority of holiday pay cases are found in the claimant’s favour, with values ranging from £18.94 to £11,000. Most are for a few hundred pounds.
Minimum holiday entitlements are a vital part of reducing overwork, says the TUC. It points out that people who work excessive hours are at risk of developing heart disease, stress, mental illness, strokes and diabetes.
The TUC wants HMRC to be granted new powers to clamp down on employers who deny staff their statutory holiday entitlement. This would include the power to ensure that workers are fully compensated for missed holidays.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “British workers put in billions of pounds worth of unpaid overtime as it is. Employers have no excuse for robbing staff of their leave.
“The government must toughen up enforcement to stop bosses cheating working people out of their holidays. And ministers must not resurrect tribunal fees which stopped people enforcing their rights.”