Construction union Ucatt slams proposed delay to introducing extended holiday entitlement

Construction union Ucatt has blasted a proposed delay to extending workers’ minimum paid holiday entitlement from 20 days to 28.

Workers were due to receive a guaranteed additional four days holiday from October 2007, and the remaining four days from October 2008.

But the government has now published regulations which will delay the second increase until April 2009.

Alan Ritchie, general secretary of Ucatt, said: “This is a complete betrayal of a government promise. The commitment to prevent bosses from stealing workers’ entitlement to bank holidays was an integral part of the Warwick Agreement.”

Unions were initially reluctant to agree to any staging of the increased holiday entitlement provision. The staging was agreed on the basis that it would be fully implemented by October 2008.

Jim Fitzpatrick, employment relations minister, said the government had “listened to all parties” in its latest consultation, and agreed a number of changes in the way the new holidays will be brought in.

Employers that decide to offer their workers the entitlement sooner – 28 days leave or more by 1 October 2007 – will not be bound by the new legislation. Companies will also be allowed to continue to buy out the entitlement (the four extra days) introduced from October 2007 until 1 April 2009.

The Department of Trade and Industry also plans to set up an online calculator to make it simpler for everybody to work out their new holiday entitlement.

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