One in twelve workers miss out on legal holiday entitlement

30 July 2018

New TUC analysis estimates that 2.2 million employees are not getting the minimum paid leave entitlement they are due and over half of this number are not getting any paid leave at all.

The analysis also shows:

  • Workers are losing out on nearly £3bn worth of paid leave a year

  • 9.2% of female workers and 7.2% of male workers are losing out

  • The sectors in which workers are most likely to lose out are agriculture (14.9%), mining and quarrying (14.7%) and accommodation and food (13.9%)

  • The sectors with the highest numbers of staff losing out are retail (348,000), education (342,000) and health and social care workers (291,000)

Working people are entitled to a statutory annual minimum of 28 days paid leave (pro rata and including public holidays).

The TUC says the main reasons people are missing out are:

  • Workers being set unrealistic workloads that do not allow time to take leave

  • Employers deliberately denying holiday requests and managing out people’s leave

  • Employers not keeping up to date with the law


Minimum holiday entitlements are a vital part of reducing overwork, says the TUC. 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.

The TUC wants HMRC to be granted new powers to clamp down on employers who deny staff their statutory holiday entitlement. This would include the power to ensure that workers are fully compensated for missed holidays.

The 2017 Taylor Review on modern work practices proposed that “HMRC should take responsibility for enforcing the basic set of core pay rights that apply to all workers – NMW, sick pay and holiday pay for the lowest paid workers.”

A subsequent government consultation (Feb 2018) said: “The government accepts the case for the state enforcing a basic set of core rights for the most vulnerable workers, and intends to move in this direction”.

The TUC says ministers must guarantee all UK workers can take the holidays that they are entitled to.