An MP is presenting a Bill to parliament today that aims to ensure that workers get their full entitlement to four weeks paid holiday every year.
The Annual Leave Entitlement (Enforcement) Bill, proposed by Anne Begg, Labour MP for Aberdeen South, will give extra enforcement powers to the inspectors who presently visit workplaces to check that employers are paying their workers the minimum wage.
Begg said: “At the moment, thousands of workers may be unaware that they are entitled to four weeks paid holiday every year.
“The right to a National Minimum wage gets a lot of publicity so most workers know what they are due, but there is still a great deal of ignorance about the right to paid holiday.”
While minimum wage enforcement officers have been reasonably successful in tracking down employers who are breaking the law by paying poverty wages, they do not have the power to take action when they find the same employer is not providing full paid holiday entitlement, Begg added.
A study of Labour Force Survey data by the TUC found that 400,000 full-time workers were receiving less than 12 days paid leave a year.
Kevin Curran, general secretary at general union GMB, welcomed the proposals.
“GMB members will be pleased to learn of this Bill, which addresses a hidden problem.
“Anne Begg is doing the low-paid a great service by raising their right to paid holiday up the political agenda,” he said.
“Many bad employers have been relying on people not knowing what their rights are.
“That kind of exploitation has to stop, and enforcement is often the only way to get bad employers to change their ways.”