Holiday cheer as Bills move forward through Commons

A Bill that will ensure British workers receive their full entitlement of four weeks’ paid annual holiday has been approved by parliament for a second reading.

The Annual Leave Entitlement (Enforcement) Bill aims to give extra powers to inspectors who visit workplaces to check that employers are paying the minimum wage. It will allow them to check employee records and take action where necessary.

The government introduced the right to four weeks’ paid holiday under the Working Time Directive in 1998. However, a TUC study found that 400,000 full-time workers still receive less than 12 days paid leave each year.

The GMB union, which represents many low-paid workers in the UK, said the problem was particularly acute in the leisure and catering industries.

Meanwhile, a separate Bill relating to time off – the Public Service (Bank Holiday) Bill – will have its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday.

Labour MP Claire Ward is proposing introducing an extra Bank Holiday on the third Monday in October, in recognition of public service workers.

She told Personnel Today she was confident she had the support required to take the Bill to committee stage. Ward countered employer arguments that it would cost too much by saying that businesses would see benefits in terms of improved morale and productivity.

Policy advisers at the Labour Party are thought to be drawing up plans for another Bank Holiday, as part of its election manifesto. Earlier this year business leaders gave a cautious welcome to the plans.

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