Government consultation on compulsory bank holidays launched

Plans to ensure that workers get to take paid leave for bank holidays in addition to the statutory four weeks annual leave, were set out in a government consultation paper today.

The proposals mean that up to two million of the lowest paid workers stand to benefit from additional leave, with women, part-timers and those from ethnic minorities being the main beneficiaries.

Jim Fitzpatrick, employment relations minister, said: “There are still many people, particularly the lowest paid, who have to take bank holidays from their leave entitlement. The government is determined to put this right and ensure they get the extra leave they deserve.”

The government proposes to phase in the additional leave starting with an increase from 20 to 24 days (pro rata for part time workers) from 1 October 2007. In addition views are being sought on whether the rest of the leave should be introduced:

  • in one stage, from October 2008;

  • in one stage, from October 2009; or,

  • in two phases, increasing to 26 days in October 2008 and to 28 days from October 2009.

Fitzpatrick added: “I hope that businesses, unions and individuals will take part in this consultation and give us their views so that we can work together to introduce this new right without placing unnecessary burdens on business.”

The initial consultation, which closes on 22 September 2006, can be found online.

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