Income Data Services report finds UK staff will still have least holidays in EU despite entitlement increase

The UK is set to remain at the bottom of the European Union league for paid holiday entitlement, despite the implementation of new legislation, research has found.

Minimum UK holiday entitlement is set to increase in two stages from 20 to 28 days by 2009, under government measures to curb employers counting public holidays as staff annual leave.

UK workers are entitled to a minimum of 20 days leave, but if companies include the eight bank holidays in this figure, they are in effect giving staff only 12 days.

The government aims to bring the UK in line with other EU member states. But an Incomes Data Services (IDS) Pay Report has found that the UK will still lag behind, because staff in other EU countries benefit from more public holidays.

Germany tops the league with 39 days off a year, including public holidays, followed by Austria (38), Sweden (36), Slovakia, Luxembourg and France (35), Portugal (34), the Czech Republic and Slovenia (33), Italy, Spain and Greece (32) and Poland and Finland (31).

Ken Mulkearn, editor of the IDS Pay Report, said the recent legislation is not likely to impact greatly on employers who already offer 20 days’ leave plus bank holidays.
 “The new regulations are clearly aimed at preventing the practice of including the current eight bank holidays in the minimum entitlement – whereby some employees effectively got just 12 days’ annual leave. But even after the changes, the UK will still be joint bottom of the EU league table for holidays,” he said.

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