Holiday pay claims on the rise as over a million workers are getting no paid leave at all

14 August 2019

The holiday season is in full flow.  Whilst many are enjoying a Summer break, recent research shows that not all workers are receiving their holiday entitlement as they should.
UK workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks of paid leave each year, which is confirmed in law by the Working Time Regulations 1998. This means full-time workers should receive 28 days of holiday each year (i.e those with a typical 5-day working week) and this entitlement would apply pro-rata for those who work less than 5 days each week.
In research conducted by the Trade Union Congress (“TUC”) and published on 22 July 2019, it has been found that one in fourteen UK workers are not receiving their full legal holiday entitlement.  The research confirmed that more women than men were missing out in this regard and over one million people were not getting any paid holiday at all.
The TUC found that nearly two million employees are not getting the minimum paid leave that they are entitled to, with the worst offenders being in the education, retail and health and social care the sectors. Statistically, a high number of women work in the aforementioned sectors and the analysis found that female workers are being affected worse than men.
The TUC’s findings tie in with employment tribunal statistics: there has been a doubling of tribunal cases involving unpaid holiday since 2017, with the vast majority of holiday pay cases being found in the claimant’s favour.
The TUC also found that the main reasons that people were missing out on holiday and pay were that workloads were unrealistic, employers were deliberately denying holiday requests and managing out people’s leave and organisations were failing to keep up to date with the law.
Employers should monitor their working practices and ensure that workers are receiving the holiday that they are entitled to.  A useful tip is for employers to send reminders to staff part way through the holiday year flagging their outstanding holiday entitlement and encouraging them to take their annual leave. 
If employers do not do enough on the matter, there is a risk that employees may later bring claims asserting that they have been denied their holiday rights and pay.  In addition, overworking can lead to health complications, which can then result in employees going on long-term sick leave and disrupting the normal running of the business.  As you can see, there are a variety of reasons why employers should take note of the TUC’s research and be proactive in encouraging their workers to take their annual leave each holiday year.
This bulletin is for general guidance only and should not be used for any other purpose. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as legal advice.