one in eight britons have skived off work to go on holiday

Two million UK workers are not receiving their legal holiday entitlement.

According to new research by TUC, it has been revealed that roughly two million UK employees are not getting their minimum legal holiday entitlement. In addition to this, it has been calculated that around one million workers in the UK are not receiving any paid leave at all.

TUC found the leading reasons for this were unreasonably heavy workloads, employers denying requests for holiday leave and employers following outdated laws.

The Working Time Regulations Act 1998 states that UK workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks, or 28 days, of paid leave.

However, around 7 per cent of UK employees are getting fewer holidays.  The statistics also shows that  8.3 per cent of female employees are not receiving the correct amount of holiday leave. This is in contrast to 5.9 per cent of male employees.

Additionally, Northern Ireland has the highest number of employees not receiving their legal holiday entitlement with almost 10 per cent (9.2) missing out. This is followed by Eastern England and London, with 7.7 and 7.5 per cent of employees respectively.

The region least affected is the North West of England where only 5.6 per cent of employees are not receiving the correct holiday entitlement.

Additionally, tombola, an online bingo website, conducted a survey concerning work life-balance as it proved to be one of the most prevalent topics of interest amongst its community members.

This research actually uncovered that even when workers are given the correct amount of time off, half (50 per cent) of UK employees were made to feel uncomfortable when they requested time off.

Furthermore, 28 per cent of workers in the UK have more than five days of holiday allowance unspent in a year, revealing that around one in three employees work an extra full working week for free.

Malcolm Gregory, a partner in the employment law team at Royds Withy King, said:

The law has prescribed minimum paid holiday since 1998 and workers’ rights in this connection are reasonably well known. This issue is not just about employers flouting the law but also about workers taking responsibility for their wellbeing and understanding the health implications of not taking a reasonable amount of time off.

Workers who wish to compain can do so and will be in strong position to enforce their legal rights. Provided the Tribunal system remains free to use, there is no barrier to justice.

A more effective solution for this issue might be to consider how the health and wellbeing agenda can be publicised to greater effect. If the message is heard widely by all workers, it will be difficult for employers to seek to avoid or turn a blind eye to the existing law.

TUC said:

Minimum holiday entitlements are a vital part of reducing overwork. People who work excessive hours are at risk of developing heart disease, stress, mental illness, strokes, and diabetes, which also impacts on co-workers, friends, and relatives.

Research by the TUC came from the Labour Force Survey whereas research by tombola was collated from the results of a survey of 300 people.

Interested in wellbeing in the workplace We recommend the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum 2019.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.